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Take a Hike!

Renew mind, body, and spirit - outdoors

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Take a Hike!

Hiking offers a cardiovascular workout that burns up to 400 calories an hour, calms the mind, and nourishes the spirit. The body is pleasantly relaxed, the mind lets go of trivial worries, and the beauty of the natural world reawakens the spirit.

Hiking offers a cardiovascular workout that burns up to 400 calories an hour, calms the mind, and nourishes the spirit. Maybe it’s time you took a walk in the woods.

Hikers often speak of how great they feel after a day of trekking. The body is pleasantly relaxed, the mind lets go of trivial worries, and the beauty of the natural world reawakens the spirit. Exercising in nature’s playground is inexpensive and accessible, but before hitting the trail, review some basic outdoor knowledge to ensure a safe and enjoyable excursion.

Become familiar with hiking jargon: Purchase a hiking book that includes local maps and descriptions of each hike; then start with easy hikes and gradually add elevation and
distance to increase stamina.

Dress for the outdoors: Avoid cotton clothing that absorbs and holds water. Synthetic fabrics designed for outdoor activities are breathable and dry quickly. Comfortable, water-resistant, sturdy boots with ankle support, worn with synthetic blend or wool socks, will see you through all climate conditions. During wet weather, a waterproof jacket made of breathable fabric performs well, but an inexpensive plastic poncho will also keep you dry. Carry extra gear in a daypack so you are ready for a weather change, and consider using trekking poles.

Never hike alone: Hiking clubs are filled with friendly outdoor enthusiasts who are happy to share their expertise and camaraderie. Lunch break is the highlight of the day. Munching on a peanut butter or cheese sandwich while on top of a mountain, or by a lake or stream, rivals gourmet fare. Even in the rain, under trees or umbrellas, we enjoy each other’s company and joke about the liquid sunshine. We always have fun and often get silly–it must be the fresh air.

Bask in the afterglow: Once lunch is over, we pack up all garbage to be carried out in our daypacks. It is time to turn around. Experienced hikers schedule their day so that they head back to the car well before nightfall. A well-planned departure leaves extra time on the homeward journey to reflect on the day’s accomplishment. A pleasant feeling of contentment and weariness replaces the adrenaline rush of the morning.

Wearing appropriate clothing, carrying safety gear, and leaving no trace on the environment guarantees a great hiking day.

Why Use Trekking Poles?

Many hikers now use what look like ski poles but are really high-tech carbon or aluminum trekking poles. They can help to:

  • reduce stress on knees and hips, particularly when hiking downhill
  • prevent injury in slippery or uneven trail conditions
  • reduce perceived exertion, according to a study published in 2000 in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

Pack a 20- or 30-litre Daypack with These Hiking Items:

  • first-aid kit that includes personal medication
  • whistle and emergency blanket
  • map and compass
  • small knife and waterproof matches
  • lunch, high-energy snacks, and water bottle
  • flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
  • rain gear
  • extra socks, gloves, and fleece top
  • toque or wide-brimmed sun hat
  • orange plastic garbage bag to be used as an emergency shelter or rescue flag
  • sunscreen, insect repellent, and bite or sting treatment

Walking Speeds Vary

Extremely fit hikers can complete 1 km in 12 minutes, going uphill! Most hikers, though, trek 1 km in 15 to 20 minutes–a realistic goal that maintains fitness yet allows time to enjoy the scenery.

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