One of my favorite ways to get out and get moving is to go for a hike! In my blog posts, I usually provide tips on adopting healthy habits and the research that backs it up. Today, I’m taking a different approach. I want to tell you a bit about why I, personally, love to go for short hikes. I hope that some of my enthusiasm will rub off and you might want to give it a try!
If you enjoy the scientific information I usually share, check out my article about the benefits of exercising outside. In that post, I mention how outdoor exercise improves your mood. For me, hiking kills two birds with one stone: I get a workout and feel extra good after I finish. But there are so many more reasons I love to hike!
I can bring my dog along with me and she loves it! I enjoy getting out in the fresh air and seeing the beautiful scenery, like an overlook, waterfall, or other natural wonder. All of which makes it feel less like exercise and more like a trip or exploration. Hiking is also something that my family does together! We meet at a favorite trail and go for 30-60 minutes. We love being able to just walk and talk.
People tend to think of hiking as being straight up a mountain, and those hikes definitely exist, but it doesn’t have to be like that! There are many hikes that offer rolling hills or even a paved trail. To find a hike that fits your needs, check the websites for nearby state and national parks, as well as local parks and nature centers. Many websites offer information about how hard the hike is, the elevation change, and the distance to some point of interest or lookout. You can also start exploring sections of the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia and offers some beautiful views.
Although spring is around the corner, we are definitely still feeling the winter chill. But don’t let a little cold weather stop you! Prepare for cold-weather hikes by:
- Dressing in breathable layers. Wear a thermal base layer, an insulating layer, and coat on top. For your bottom, wear a thermal layer under your pants and wool socks. Add or remove more layers as needed. Wool and synthetic fibers work best, since cotton will stay wet with sweat, making for a colder hike.
- Bringing gloves and a hat. You can always take them off if you get too warm.
- Wearing sturdy shoes—waterproof is best! You don’t want to end up with a wet, cold sock!
- Packing a hiking bag with an extra pair of socks, a first aid kit, water, and a trail map. Don’t overpack, as a heavy backpack is hard to carry for long, but bringing a few essentials is worth the effort.
Start with a few short hikes. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it!