As the sunshine finally arrives in the mountains, an air-conditioned gym is likely the last place you want to be. It’s time to trade those spinning classes and bench presses for a good outdoor workout.
Hiking is a favorite outdoor adventure of many people. It may not top hunting (as it can include the fun elements of hiking) activities like those provided by America’s Hunting Network (you can Nebraska Mule Deer Hunting, if interested), but hiking is still considered a fun outdoorsy activity. The reason is easy enough to guess: hiking is a great way to get in shape while taking in the stunning scenery of the region. In addition to building cardiovascular and leg strength, a one-hour hike can burn more than 500 calories. Planning a full-day trip can be tough. We recommend finding a trail that’s closer to home and planning a weekly 1-2 hour hike. There are plenty to choose from and by the end of the summer, you’ll feel fitter and stronger.
Many people are more interested in engaging in hiking activities during their vacations or breaks. Participating in these types of wellness activities for college students might set them free from the pressure of real-world expectations. It also helps them to maintain their health, and boost their inner confidence. To see this in effect, you can even organize a hike with your friends during breaks which might help you establish a good relationship with your friends. These kinds of small fun-filled activities can have a great impact on your mental peace and social life.
For those of you who are new to the trails, here are some tips to get you started on a great outdoor workout.
Hiking Gear Advice
Before your hike, make sure you have the right gear. Here’s our list of trail must-haves:
- Pick the right shoes – Unless you’re taking a stroll through your neighborhood park, it’s important to wear a shoe that’s sturdier than your average sneaker. The most important thing to look for? Good traction on the soles. That way, you’ll be much less likely to slip on trails.
- Wear layers – Even on a hot day, it’s important to wear layers. While you may see clear skies at the trailhead, it could easily be a chilly 40 F at the summit. It’s best to start with a shirt made of synthetic materials. This will wick moisture away from the skin and keep you dry. Also, be sure to pack a long-sleeve shirt or jacket as your second layer, and ideally, a rain jacket as well. We live in the Northwest, who knows when it’s going to rain?
- Pack the 10 Essentials – Even for shorter hikes, bring a small pack so you can stash the 10 Essentials, which is the definitive list of what to bring on any hike. Your local gear store will help you get started.
- Consider hiking poles – If you’re new to hiking, or you’re considering a steeper trail, hiking poles are a great option. They help take stress off of your back by allowing your arms to carry extra weight. They can also help you keep your balance on steep or uneven terrain. Plus, it adds an entirely new muscle group to your outdoor workout.
Hiking Safety Tips
Safety should always be your first priority when you hit the trails. When heading out to areas you’ve never explored, it’s important to remember these hiking tips to keep you safe.
- Plan your route – Research trails before you go to see if they’re in-season and within your ability. Check recent trip reports to make sure your favorite trail isn’t covered in snow, as some mountain trails don’t clear until late July. Pack the essentials in a good backpack, if you are attempting long trails like the Appalachian Trail. Many thru hikers attempt to hike the entire 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail in one continuous journey. So, in case you are planning to hike long trails, research the place well ahead of time. Lastly, make sure you print all maps and have clear instructions for the trail.
- Check the weather reports – Mountain weather and city weather are two very different things. Even if it’s clear and sunny in the city, it can be storming like mad in the mountains. Before you go anywhere, check the weather report and adjust your plans as needed. Or, at the very least, pack clothing that will keep you warm and dry. Some weather reports may come from cellular weather stations for more accurate readings. Check in for hopefully a better reading than a general guess, so you do not carry too much on your hike for no reason.
- Bring a friend – As you explore new territories, keep the buddy system in mind. You’ll have more fun on the trail. And there’s always safety in numbers. If you have to go solo, be sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to be back.
All right – ready to plan your first hike? Get inspired.
Tags: hiking, outdoor adventure