After a year of confinement, you're probably excited to have the opportunity to stretch your legs and go on an adventure.
However, you should still find an adventure that lets you practice social distancing while improving your health.
Why not go hiking?
Hiking is a relatively easy outdoor experience that allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature.
A short hiking trip that maybe lasts for most of a day can be an invigorating experience for all involved.
Here are just a few reasons you should pack your bags, get some trail maps and head for the hills.
Why Should You Go Hiking?
If you're not completely sold on choosing a hiking trip for your adventure of the day, you should know that even going on a single trip can have some great benefits.
If you want to improve your body and your mind, a hiking trip can be the activity for you.
1. It's Great Cardio
Cardiovascular exercise helps strengthen your heart and lungs, improving your stamina and endurance.
Cardio exercises often involve repeated low-effort activity like walking or jogging. Hiking combines these activities.
Traveling across trails and natural environments can be tough, even you're wearing a pair of waterproof boots from Thorogood and checking the easiest routes on Google Maps.
You'll get sweaty and exert yourself, sure, but in the great way that exercise makes you.
2. You Burn More Calories
Traveling across rough terrain can be challenging.
Navigating through brush, clambering across a stream and climbing uphill are all more difficult than simply jogging or walking on a paved road.
According to fitness experts, walking or running on an inclined surface helps you burn more calories.
If you travel uphill on foot, you can burn as many as 5 extra calories bet minute.
That means burning an additional 300 calories per hour of hiking.
3. You Appreciate Nature
Going outdoors is always a good thing to do, especially if you use your time to appreciate nature.
After spending the better part of a year observing social distancing and sequestering yourself indoors, you may be surprised by how beautiful nature can be.
For example, you may run into a group of deer or have time to picnic near a sparkling brook.
Being around nature can be very soothing and help you find some peace.
If these benefits have made you want to go to the nearest nature park, hold your horses.
Even a simple hiking trip that only takes a single day needs rigorous preparation.
How to Prepare for a Short Hiking Trip
Hiking is a beautiful and enriching experience, but it can be potentially harmful if you don't take the time to prepare for it.
Before you take a single step unto a nature trail or national park, here are a few tips that will help keep you safe on your short hiking adventure.
- Dress Properly
You attire will be essential in keeping yourself safe and comfortable on the trail.
If you wear clothes that are too thick or long, you may exhaust yourself from the heat.
If you wear clothes that are too light, you could experience intense cold up any trail.
Your footwear is also essential because the wrong shoes and boots could cause you to slip and hurt yourself.
Dress comfortably and aim for maximum mobility and protection before embarking on a hike.
- Do Your Research
Not every trail is the same and not all parks have the same rules regarding hikes.
Before you drive to the nearest nature park, make sure you do your research.
First, check the rules and regulations for the park you choose to go hiking in.
Next, study the weather forecasts for the day you choose to go hiking. A sudden rainstorm can mean the difference between returning home safe and getting into a bad accident.
Finally, check the wildlife in the area.
Are there bears? Is it full of snakes? What about insects? Check these potentially hostile faunas and plan accordingly.
- Tell People Where You're Going
You should never go out into the wilderness without telling anyone where you're going.
This is one of the most prevalent safeguards when venturing outdoors.
Even if you're just hiking, you'll never know what could happen.
Tell these people when you're due to return as well, so they can alert the authorities in case you are too injured or lost to make it back.
- Pack Essentials
What constitutes an essential on the trail can differ with each situation, but there are a few things you should always pack into your wilderness kit.
First, you must bring a basic first aid kit at all times.
In case anyone cuts themselves or gets lightly injured, you can disinfect it and prevent it from getting worse.
Next, you should have navigational equipment such as maps, compasses, and GPS devices.
Finally, you should have plenty of food and water for your trip.
The past year has confined billions of people in their homes but when the opportunity arrives, you can take an adventure that won't expose anyone to contagion.
Hiking allows you to connect with nature once more and improve your health.