This month, for the #FreedomFebruary Challenge, take a hike! It's a refreshing outdoor activity to add to your plan.
Not only is hiking a superb outdoor activity that almost any skill level can participate in due to the fact that it's a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, but it's also a highly effective stress-reliever. Opting outside, especially removing yourself from the pandemonium of urban or suburban living, and hiking along a trail for a few miles until you feel as though you are at one with your surroundings and all the beautiful sights and sounds that nature hiking provides...resets your body, mind & spirit...and changes your life.
Another empowering aspect to hiking is that you can make your trek as easy or as intense as you'd like on any given day. You can decide to spontaneously hike along a mountain, park or beach trail until you feel you've had your fill of nature and it's time to turn around and call it a day. Or if you're inspired to challenge yourself, you can plan out a more complex expedition.
The Physical Effects That Hiking Has On Your Body:
- Supercharges your energy levels: brings extra oxygen & fuel to your muscles & organs
- Keeps your joints flexible/mobile: helps fight osteoporosis and arthritis
- Increases your endurance & alertness
- Burns calories: even at a slow pace of 2 miles/hour a 150 lb. person burns ~240 cals/hr
- Strengthens & tones your entire body: especially your legs and core, which in turn helps prevent back injuries
- Elevates Mood
- Daily Dose of Vitamin D: the best source is the sun, and all you need is 15 minutes in direct sunlight to get your RDA of Vitamin D!
Whether your hiking solo or with a group of friends, please always follow safe hiking practices by packing sufficient gear and leaving little-to-no carbon footprint! And remember, make it engaging, be mindful, and maybe even bring a camera and take some scenic photos!
Top Ten Items To Bring On A Hike:
- Hydration Pack: like this Teton Hydration Backpack
- Electrolyte Tablets: I swear by these Nuun tablets, they taste great too!
- Lifestraw Personal Water Filter and/or Water Purification Tablets
- A really good hat for sun protection
- Warm weather gear/Cold weather gear (jacket, poncho, wool socks)
- Proper waterproof hiking shoes (high-rise for cold weather hiking, mid-rise for warmer weather hiking)
- Survival Outdoors Longer Kit: Includes a signal mirror, whistle, waterproof fire starter striker, survival warm blanket, compass & dry bag
- Snacks or Food to last you the entire trek, energy bars like Clif bars are great
- Navigation: bring a map of the trail and familiarize yourself with the trail and your route
- Shelter: Having a camping hammock, like this portable nylon parachute hammock, in case your day hike turns into an unexpected overnighter...will keep you off the ground and is a great item to add to your pack. If you're planning an overnight hike, make sure you have a proper tent and you have practiced using it!