Take a Hike━to the Healthy Life!

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Every year, millions of us sign up for gym memberships, spin classes, and boot camps. While these activities are great, it’s too easy to let our memberships lapse or quit after a session or two. But there is an aerobic activity that’s easy to stick with because it’s inexpensive, works every part of our bodies, and is accessible to almost anyone. Even better, you can do it at any fitness level or age, anywhere across the world, any time of day. It’s the great pastime of hiking, and aside from doing amazing things for your overall health from day one, it can also boost your long-term cardiovascular health, prevent osteoporosis, and help relieve stress.1 Plus, it’s a great opportunity to breathe in some fresh air and stop to smell the roses, literally!

Before you set out to hike the Smoky Mountains, here are some basic tips to keep in mind for everyday hikes. These tips are designed to keep you comfortable and safe when hiking easy-to-moderate trails for under an hour.

Top 10 Things to Know Before You Go:

  1. As with any physical activity, consult your physician to make sure hiking is appropriate for you.
  2. Kick off those stilettos and invest in a sturdy and comfortable pair of hiking boots. A great comfortable pair of boots will take you anywhere.
  3. Sure, the performance outerwear industry is years behind the fashion world. But you can still discover some cute finds that are stylish yet still practical and comfortable. Wear layers to keep you dry, warm, and comfortable as your activity level or temperature changes.
  4. The Vitamin D you’ll absorb courtesy of the sun is yet another great benefit of hiking. Just be sure to wear a hat and apply a broad spectrum sunscreen like the Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50.
  5. Always carry water with you, not sugary sports drinks.
  6. Bring snacks. An energy-boosting trail mix or granola bars will offer a good combination of carbs and proteins to keep your energy up throughout the hike.
  7. Pack light. The less you carry, the more enjoyable the hike will be. The heaviest items in your pack should be food and water.
  8. Find a friend to enjoy the hike with. A hiking buddy can keep you motivated, but also is a safety precaution. If you’re hiking alone, be sure to tell someone where you’re headed before you leave.
  9. Even if you’re just hiking around your neighborhood, make sure you pack a fully charged cell phone and a basic first-aid kit in case of emergency.
  10. Clean up after yourself. We want everyone to be able to enjoy hiking, so be sure not to leave any trash behind.

Hit the Trail, Reap the Benefits

Search the American Hiking Society website for beginner’s hiking trails in your area; then strap on those new hiking shoes and enjoy the peace, sunshine, adrenaline rush, newfound stamina, and fresh air. Just get out there and start enjoying the great outdoors! 

Reference:
1.
Exercise for osteoporosis. WebMD Web site. http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/exercise-for-osteoporosis. Accessed April 7, 2013.

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