Health Benefits Of Hiking Outdoors

vgMost 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.

Hiking in Blue Ridge, Georgia

ftBlue Ridge Hiking Suggestions

Hiking is one of our guest’s favorite activities so we thought we would provide you with some suggestions to make your hiking trips safer and more enjoyable. There are many trails in the Blue Ridge area including the famous Benton MacKaye Trail and the Appalachian Trail. These trails provide ample hiking opportunities for all level of hikers. Several trails lead to some beautiful waterfalls including Long Creek Falls. There are trail heads located all around the Blue Ridge area.

• Let someone know where you are going before you leave. If there is not anyone at the cabin you are staying then call a friend back home just to let them know the exact location you will be starting and what trail you will be on. Tell them you will call when you return.

• Hike in groups or use the buddy system. Anyone even experienced hikers can run into trouble while in the wild so use the buddy system. A variety of things can happen in the wilderness from snakebites, bug bites, to a slip and fall. It is best never to hike alone. Even if you are hiking with a group make sure someone not on the hike knows where you are starting and when you expect to return.

• Stay hydrated. Carry enough water for the day and your pack will get lighter as the day progresses. We suggest that you carry more water than you think you will drink because you never know if you will be out longer than you think, the hike will be more challenging than expected, or hotter than predicted.

• Bring snacks to keep your energy level up during the hike. Also, make sure you have a little extra food and water just in case. Be sure to pack up all trash and keep all your food in airtight containers to prevent attracting predatory animals. We also want to keep our natural beauty litter free.

• Bring sunscreen and bug spray. I also like to carry a stick so I can move plants that I am concerned could be prickly or poisonous. We suggest that you wear hiking boots for better footing and to protect your feet and ankles from bugs, animals, and plants.

• Plan a hike that is suitable for all members of the party and let the slower person set the pace. When resting investigate the area that you plan to sit and be aware that snakes like rocks.

• Wear wicking type fabric not cotton, it will keep you cooler and wick away moisture even in cold weather. Layer clothing in cold weather. Wear bright colors not camouflage clothing so you can be seen if lost or if hunters are in the area.

• Do not climb waterfalls it can be dangerous and harms the natural environment.

• Remember you are in the home of many wild creatures so respect their home and pick up all trash, don’t remove rocks or anything from the natural setting. Snakes like to hide in thick brush, leaves, and under rocks or wood so stay on the trail and don’t disturb any rocks or wood.

• Bring a whistle so that you can be easily heard and located in case of emergency or if you get lost. It is much easier to use a whistle for a long time than it is to yell.

Most of all enjoy the wildlife, nature, and beauty.

How to Hike Smart in Extreme Hot Temperatures

fuDespite 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.

Don’t Make the Same Mistakes

hgWell, 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.