Gym rats to couch potatoes, when is the last time you got out and did some hiking?
Building muscle is great and all; however, if not heading to show or competition, what are you using those huge ass muscles for besides looking good?
On the flip side, you are sitting there getting fatter talking about the good old days back in high school when you were a starter for the football team.
It is time for you to get out and explore. Hiking can take many forms, from a nice leisurely walk in the park on well-built trails to getting off the beaten path and exploring a new area the few humans wander.
Benefits of Hiking
Physical – Full-body workout that you can scale. Throw a weighted vest or pack on turn your hiking into a rucking marathon. It will help make you stronger, improve your sense of balance, improve overall heart health.
Mental: Being outside in nature will boost your mood; getting away from the pixels will help with mental health. All your senses will thank you as you take the sight, sounds, and smells. Even if you are a city dweller for the parks and trail ways, take a break from the city life.
Relationships: Want to build strong ties with your children? or do your parents need to get out more? option for a first date? ( a cheap one because you are fourteen and don’t have a job yet) Hiking is a great way and an excellent time to talk and learn about other people while exploring what nature offers along the way.
Where to go Hiking
Use that computer in your pocket like a tool, open up your map app, type in PARKS, boom that easy.
Now you want to have some more fun, with a little more challenge, either locally or when traveling find a welcome center or rest area they often have all kinds of flyers of local park and trails that you can do.
Check your state or nearby state websites also. They often have a link to all the parks and trail systems in the state. For Illinois, I have often gone to the Department of Natural Resources Page. I am sure your state or country has something similar.
At the national level, there are plenty of resources.
Want to do an over nighter or part of a long-distance trail. Head out to one of these.
These are only some examples and the tip of the iceberg of what you can get out to do, from a simple hike that is an hour-long to ones that will take you six months to accomplish.
It does not matter if going for short hiking adventures or long; have what you need to make it enjoyable. Do your research of what you might need and learn as you go what works for you. We are all a little different here.
Now there are a few things that are important to any hike.
First, in my opinion, is to make sure you have sufficient water for hydration, this can make a big difference in enjoyment level.
Next, make sure you have proper footwear. That may mean you need sandals for the beach or good hiking shoes or boots for those long hikes. Figure out what you need before you go. Your feet will thank you.
After that, have proper clothing for your hike. If you have littles with you, take extra clothing along. That way, if they get to have some fun in the mud or sand along the way, they get to enjoy it, and you still have a clean vehicle.
Last but not least, have some bandaids and simple first aid supplies either with you or that you can get to quickly. Bumps, bruises, scratches are bound to happen.
Have a Plan
I have heard too many stories of people going out for a short hike and end up getting lost or injured. Do not let this be you. You can be spontaneous and at the same time have a plan of action.
Let someone know you are going, with at a minimum of where and what time frame you are thinking. That way, if something happens, they can start inquiring and looking into why your late; this can be a courtesy thing, so your family knows if you are out to a full-on safety measure. Checking in with a ranger station to let them know you are in the area.
Having a plan is simple; follow through with it and enjoy yourself. Get off course a bit can be ok depending on where you are at, though it is thoughtful and if your plans change in a big way, let someone know.
Get out and have some fun hiking in this beautiful world we live in; there is so much to see, almost an endless supply of sights and sounds. I enjoy walking many of the same trails and watching how the seasons change trail, making it a new experience each time I am out.
Enjoy the wildlife you come across, and it is so much more fun than watching them on a screen. Take a book of critter or birds along to figure out ones you have not seen before.
Both adults and children enjoy a good scavenger hunt, which can push you to use your senses when out hiking.
Get outside more and enjoy.
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