Archive | January 2016

Health Benefits Of Hiking Outdoors

download (33)Most people know hiking is good for their body and health in general but what they may not know is just how beneficial is it. So if you intend to go hiking this summer by yourself or with family and friends keep in mind that hiking the outdoors has lots of benefits such as, fresh air, enjoyable sights and noises and sounds of nature. Also keep in mind that hiking, like exercise, is good for you as it is considered a great cardio workout that may do the following:

  • boost your mood
  • boost bone density
  • exercise the whole body
  • improve your blood pressure
  • improves blood sugar levels
  • build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
  • control your weight
  • improve balance
  • lower your risk of heart disease
  • lower risk of colon and breast cancer, and possibly lung and endometrial cancer
  • reduces depression and
  • improve better quality sleep.

Kids also get lots of the same benefits like adults do. For instance, hiking help kids benefit from the following:

  • recuperate cardio-respiratory
  • muscular fitness
  • enhance bone health
  • decrease the possibility of becoming overweight
  • decrease the possibility of developing risk factors for type 2 diabetes
  • decrease the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease
  • promotes better sleep
  • reduces the risk of depression and high stress and inability to learn and concentrate in school.

Therefore, by familiarizing yourself, friends, family and your kids to hiking, you are aiding them choose a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, hiking drills virtually every part of your body, it nurtures your imagination and generates responsiveness in your eyes and ears and the rest of your senses. Remember that you do not have to be in great shape to start hiking. In fact, people who are not so active can still enjoy nature by starting off with easy hikes before stepping up to steeper hikes that will drill the body more. Exploring nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, work, and daily routine will let you relate to nature in a manner that it generates inner peace, serenity and total wellness. So what ever location you have picked to hike with friends and family this summer, keep in mind that the great outdoors can be challenging, however, just relax and look forward to your adventure in order to fully enjoy the unique experience such as fresh air, enjoyable sights, noises and sounds.

 

This entry was posted on January 23, 2016.

How to Hike Smart in Extreme Hot Temperatures

download (32)Despite the excessive heat warning, it is likely to still experience the outdoors in this hot summer weather. The only thing you need to do is modify your reasoning a little and be aware of safety measures as you hit the trails. Do not allow yourself to be one of those heat drained hikers, take precaution and use the following information to help you hike smart in extreme high temperature.

· Having the proper hiking gears is very essential. Ensure that you wear proper boots to support your feet and ankle.

· Do not hit the trail by yourself, always hike with a friend or family so you can support each other.

· Ensure that you take frequent breaks especially hiking in excessive hot temperature. In the desert where the temperature is extremely hot, it is imperative to take frequent breaks in order to keep your body cool.

· It is important to always look for shelter in order stay out of the sun. Try as much as possible to take advantage of shady spots especially when the clouds starts hovering over the sun. Get out of the sun as much as you can, both on breaks and on the trail.

· Clothing is always personal preference. Hats are very important to bring on your trail to guard against the extreme hot sun. Ball-caps are good but brimmed hats are preferable as it also covers the back of your neck as well as your ears.

· Always plan to set out early in the morning when the sun is not extremely hot and choose short trails in order not to be out too long in the sun. If you really do not want to be hit by the sun, then head out early, so you can enjoy the sunrise and head back before the temperature gets uncomfortable.

· It is important that you bring water on your hike. How much water you bring with you when hiking in the desert really depends on the length, strain of the hike, the day temperature and your thirst capability. It is necessary to bring enough water and sports drinks as it is advisable to drink at least a liter per hour of hiking. Keep in mind that drinking soda or alcohol while hiking will dry you out.

· The best snacks for the trail are ones that will provide you with high energy, such as fruit, granola, peanut butter, bagels, power bars, fruit bars, trail mix, beef jerky, or even candy plus some salty nuts to replenish the salt you sweat out. For longer hikes, bring more protein snacks with you.

· Make sure you eat regularly because your body is functioning tremendously fast and needs to replenish energy quickly. So continue replenishing your body with salty and protein snacks.

 

This entry was posted on January 16, 2016.

Hiking and Camping Tips Don’t Make the Same Mistakes

download (32)Well, it’s summertime again and that can only mean that for most of us it is a time to get out and enjoy some fun in the sun. Now, while many of you might head to the beach for that annual sunburn, most of us would prefer the fun and freedom of hiking and camping the great outdoors. No matter whether it is waking to the sounds of birds chirping on a crisp mountain morning or the being lulled to sleep by crickets on a starry night. Hiking and camping can be one of the nicest ways to really come to understand the wilderness. You might choose to hike in the mountains or valleys, visiting waterfalls or other famous landmarks and camp in the woods maybe near a river. Either way, just be certain to properly prepare for both and don’t make the same mistakes I have made in the past.

Camping and Hiking Tips

Now, once you determine on a specific site and time you are wanting to begin your hike, you will want to plan on what you need to take with you, how much you will need, and probably most important, what you don’t need to bring with you. Below are just a few simple tips that should prove very helpful.

Probably one of the first items to consider would be the proper footwear if you are planning on going hiking. The correct fit and comfort are vital for successful hiking trip. Based on the location of the hike, you will want to decide the weight, durability, and if you will need them to be waterproof or not. Remember, you will most likely be encountering uneven and rough terrain, so boot selection needs serious consideration, so do your research. In addition to the boots, be sure to bring along extra pairs of good hiking socks. This will not only help avoid you getting blisters, but in the event that your socks get wet, it will offer you some dry backup options.

Next on the, ‘what to bring list’, should be a good backpack. Based on the number of days you intend on hiking will largely determine the size and scope of the pack you will need. If you are camping along your hiking route, then you will need a larger pack that can accommodate not only your clothes, but also you tent and sleeping bag, food and cooking stove/utensils, and water and other necessities. If you are this during the colder months, you will need to plan for additional winter gear and garments. If it is the rainy season, then proper raingear would be a must.

Avoid The Same Hiking Mistakes I Made

Let’s dive into some of the specifics on what we covered above:

    • If you plan on camping through your hike- Get a good quality tent. Be sure to consider the size and quality. You will want a good rainfly. Don’t make the mistake I made once and get a tent based on how it looked ‘cool’. You want function over fashion any day. You also will want a small tarp to place under the tent to help keep the tent floor dry. You can also use this as a rain cover should you get caught in a storm during your hike. A roll of duct tape and some seam sealer are always good to have should your tent form some leaks or a seam split. I learned that the hard way.

 

    • For sleeping at night, a good sleeping bag and a roll to lay it on is great idea. Be sure to decide on what best fits your needs. Each bag is rated for various temperature conditions. The pad is to roll out under the under the sleeping bag to not only provide some comfort, but to create another moisture barrier. If you bag gets wet, it almost impossible to dry it out during your hike.

 

    • For cooking food, you will need a small camp stove and something to ignite a fire. Generally, you want to refrain from starting an open fire as it can be prohibited in many national and state forests. Be sure you have a cooking pot, skillet, utensils, plates, and a good knife. Of course some zip-lock bags are great for not only storing food, but also rain proofing important items.

 

    • For the food itself, planning out each meal is key. Bringing items like cereal, powdered milk, granola for breakfast and heat and eat freeze dried meals for lunch and dinners. Remember that weight is an important consideration, so bringing a lot of canned foods, may tend to weigh you down. Of course you will need plenty of water and a refillable container that you can use along the way. Don’t forget the water purification tablets either, again, learned that the hard way as well.

 

    • As for general miscellaneous equipment, a compass, some light rope, a can / bottle opener, a signal mirror, and a first aid kit are very important. Extra batteries are a great idea as well, if you have devices that require them. Just be mindful about the added weight.

 

  • Finally, clothing will need to be considered. If you are changing elevations, the weather can change quickly as well. What started out in the 70 and 80’s can quickly turn into the 40’s and below, especially as the sunsets. Don’t get caught without the proper sweaters or blankets. Likewise, in the heat of the day, having a good hat and sunscreen can prevent you from getting too much sun or even dehydrated. I also strongly recommend a good pair of sunglasses. Yea, you guessed it; I forgot those too.

Now that you are armed with these basic hiking and camping tips, my hope is that you don’t make the same mistakes that I have made. If you plan appropriately and are well-equipped, your experience should be safe and enjoyable. So, no more excuses, get out there and take on the great outdoors and have a blast doing it.

 

This entry was posted on January 12, 2016 and tagged .

5 Things to Remember When You Buy Your First Pair

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  1. Buying new boots – do your research.

New Boots – this is the best part of starting out. The trip to the store to buy those rather costly, very impressive leather hiking boots. Tried and tested on many trails, you will be beguiled with fancy terms like ‘upper,’ ‘split grain,’ ‘outsoles,’ ‘lowers,’ ‘midsoles,’ Gore-Tex® and ‘heel brakes.’ It may be worth brushing up on your understanding of some of the basic terms before you prepare to part with your well-earned dollars. Either way, the important thing is that the boots must be relevant to the hike. The key pointers to look for is that they must be waterproof, breathable, have good ankle support, a built-in ‘tongue,’ and good lug patterns on the sole with a solid heel brake.

  1. Buy the correct size

This may sound really silly, after all, who would buy a boot that is the wrong size? You would be surprised! When you head off to buy your boots, take the socks that you will be wearing on your hike with you. Thin cotton socks that you wear to the gym are certainly not the correct sock to use to try on your new boots.

Having put on your new socks, take the inner sole of the boot out of the boot, place it on the floor and stand on it. You should have a good 1.5cm gap between your big toe and the end of the inner soul. The width of your thumb is also a good measure. Many people lose toenails on the descent of a climb because their boots are just too small.

  1. Shop at the end of the day.

Saturday morning first thing is not the ideal time to buy your new boots, or any morning for that matter. It is better to buy your boots in the afternoon after you have been walking around all day, as your feet will swell a little.

  1. Wear your boots in

Having bought your new boots, gets us to the first most important point, wear your boots in. Leaving them to stand on the mantle piece so that you can admire them daily is not going to do any justice to your feet come the big day. The first thing, is to put them on and wear them around the house for an hour. You will quickly learn if they are not entirely the right fit, giving you a chance to take them back before you wear them in.

Once you know they will be comfortable, wear them in. Take them on walks; wear them on weekends; wear them around the house. On the first few days when they start to hurt, take them off, give your feet a break and start again the next day. The last thing you want is to spend a fortune on a hike only to find you are riddled with blisters on day one, and many days still ahead of you.

  1. Keep your boots clean

Just like an expensive car, boots need to be cared for, protected and serviced. Take the inner souls out to help the boots dry on the inside. This is also a good habit to get into at the end of each day of a hike.

On returning at the end of your hike, clean your boots with a soft brush and water and remove any mud buildup and dust particles. Then let your boots dry naturally. Putting them in a warming drawer or in front of a heater to speed up the process is the worst thing you can do. If the boots are damp on the inside, stuffing some newspaper in and changing it regularly will help to absorb excess moisture. Once your boots are dry, treat them to a leather care and waterproofing treatment. There are many different brands on the market such as Nikwax.

Just like a good car, if you take care of them and treat them right, your boots will give you hundreds of kilometers enabling you to fulfill your dreams.

 

This entry was posted on January 3, 2016.