Not everyone wants to hit the gym or take a jog down the street in order to get a workout in. Let's face it, exercise can be boring at times. If you are one of those people who simply do not like the idea of working out at a gym, or if you just need a change of landscape, summer presents plenty of exciting gym alternatives.
Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities for burning several hundred calories in less than an hour. Depending on your weight, you can burn upwards of 400 calories an hour simply by taking in scenery. It also provides resistance training, so unlike jogging, it can build muscle to your legs. But, like with everything, you want to be wise about it. Here are some tips to keep your hike a healthy one:
1. Always go with a friend, or tell someone when and where you are going. Most stories of amazing wilderness survival almost always begin with a hiker venturing off alone or forgetting to tell loved ones of their flight plan. And you certainly don't want your leisure hike to turn into a survival story, do you?
2. Recognize the physical shape you're in. You don't want to strain yourself and risk injury, especially when medical help can be light years away. If you're just beginning, pick an easy trail and work your way up to more advanced ones throughout the season.
3. Since you'll be burning lots of calories, you'll want to make sure you stay energized. Fruits, nuts, and trail mix are calorie-dense and fueled with many good carbs. The BlenderBottle GoStak makes carrying a variety of food an easy task. It's durable, customizable and fastens to the end of a backpack for easy access.
4. Watch the altitude. Experienced hikers and climbers often go to higher and higher elevations with little noticeable effect on their bodies. Climbing too high, however or simply hiking in a new area at a much higher elevation than you're used to can bring on altitude sickness. If you live near sea level but vacation in the Rockies, take the added altitude into consideration. If you feel nauseous, or your heartbeat fires more rapidly than normal, take a break and start heading back down.
5. Pack proper gear. It doesn't have to be much, but a flashlight, a compass, a water bottle a pocketknife and a first aid kit should suffice. And never underestimate the power of proper footwear. Don't try to hike a mountain in shoes that aren't designed for it your feet will hate you.
Have any other hiking tips?