Hi everyone, here is another guest post, this one comes by way of Quinn McAdams, a self-proclaimed healthy living enthusiast. She enjoys playing soccer, volleyball, running and hiking and is always on the lookout for the next workout he can try. Healthy eating is extremely important to her and she truly believes in the “Do Good, Feel Good” philosophy. You can find her on her blog “Healthy Living by Quinn” http://healthylivingbyquinn.blogspot.com/
I’ve found that as the leaves start turning colors and drop from the branches, crisp
autumn air beckons you outside. Hiking trails, from flat to rough terrain, gives you a
healthy workout whether you spend 30 minutes or 2 hours exploring nature. Bringing
along a friend or family is a great way to keep you motivated and safe, but it is also
imperative to pack some essential items to stay prepared for your adventure. Here is
a list of items I abide by for each hike:
Select a sturdy backpack that has multiple pockets for ample storage. Mesh side
pockets are practical for bottled water while a zippered cell phone pouch keeps your
electronics safe. The straps should be thick without any damage. Broken backpacks
soon become a weight in your arms. For our last anniversary, my husband bought
me an awesome hiking backpack from an anniversary gift-giving page. We’ve used
this on every hike and pack our favorite travel essentials when hitting the trails.
Instead of loading up on plastic water bottles, try looking into BPA free water bottles
for your journey. You’ll most likely need to refill your bottle throughout the hiking trip.
If there are no water fountains nearby, you’ll need to improvise by using a natural
water source. Fresh water lakes and rivers make great hydration sources, but be
sure the area is not polluted before you drink.
It may be autumn, but the sun still packs a surprising painful punch if you hike
without sunscreen. Try a non-nano zinc oxide kind for an environment-friendly option
rather than chemical sunscreens, which may do more harm than good in the end.
First Aid Kit
A simple kit filled with bandages and antiseptic is a critical item to bring on a hiking
trip. Hot and cold packs are also helpful if you have a swollen joint, such as rolling
your ankle, which leads me to my next essential…
Even though it may seem like a good idea, walking around in old sneakers is a
recipe for injury. This may seem obvious, but it is really important to invest in a pair
of high-quality hiking boots with good tread so they grasp the often uneven ground
below. Pebbles and loose soil cause you to lose footing as you hike and proper
footwear prevents falls and serious injury. Higher-length boots are great at stabilizing
your ankles, preventing any twisting activity, and also protect you from unexpected
patches of poison ivy.
Just like any other pair of shoes, breaking them in before you leave for your hike
is key. Wear them around town for a few days to prevent painful blisters from
appearing on your feet during the hike.
Having energy during a hike is extremely important and also makes for a more
enjoyable journey. Certain foods provide necessary energy for exploring fun. If
you’re in a pinch, bring the traditional hiking foods, such as granola bars, beef
jerky or trail mix to ward off any hunger — but make sure to choose brands free of
preservatives and other chemical additives. There are so many great options out
there that you don’t need to sacrifice nutrition for convenience.
Clouds and trees can make your hike extremely dark all of the sudden, even on
sunny autumn days. Bring a couple flashlights with extra batteries to help you find
your way along the trail. If you cannot see in front of you, injury potential increases.
In my experience, you cannot replace the beauty and wonder of a hiking trail with
a standard gym workout. Go outside and watch the wildlife as you explore new
trails. If you go often, you’ll build your endurance and walk even farther every time.
Hiking can also be a great bonding experience for families – we make it a McAdams’
tradition every year on the first day of fall.