Hiking Is a Hobby Enjoyed By Many People

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Hiking is a fun and popular activity enjoyed by people from all walks of life. There are over 88,000 miles of hiking trails total within the US, boasting a wide variety of plant and animal life. Hiking allows a person to build muscle and de-stress, while connecting with nature, and learning about the land around them.

It can be risky to go out hiking without any knowledge however. Hiking is a pretty safe activity, but there are certainly some small risks. People who go in without knowledge might hurt themselves or get lost in a dangerous situation. It’s also possible to simply have a bad experience and then never have any interest in hiking ever again. In order to get the best experience, make use of the information in this article and throughout the internet about hiking. It can be a wonderful new experience for you. 

Health Benefits of Hiking

There are a vast amount of health benefits that come with hiking. It improves blood flow and stabilizes blood sugar to prevent or ease conditions like arthritis and diabetes, as well as lowering risk of heart disease. This weight-bearing activity builds strength and balance while increasing bone density, helping to defend against osteoporosis. Exposure to many of the microbes in nature are shown to boost the immune system, preventing bacterial, viral, and fungal infections over time.

There are many mental health benefits to hiking also. The physical exercise, fresh air, and quiet surroundings can do wonders for reducing stress and anxiety. 

Tips For Having Fun Hiking

Without preparation, a hike can go downhill fast. Weather, difficulty of the trail, and time of day must be taken into consideration. Below is a list of five great tips for having fun hiking.

Beat the Bugs - Apply a bug spray according to it's directions. Tucking pant legs under socks or boots prevents ticks.

  1. Learn the Surroundings - Map out the trail before you go so you know what to expect. Bring a simple pocket field guide for information on plants, animals, or mushrooms on the trail. There are also quite a few identification apps available for smartphones.
  2.  Hydration and Nourishment - Water is mandatory. Bring enough water to last the duration of the trail. Depending on the length and time to completion, snacks are often important. Think about some lightweight and calorie dense foods to take along; nuts, jerked meat, protein bars, etc. Keep in mind a little sodium will help retain water, but too much will dehydrate the body quicker.
  3. Invite Friends - Hiking solo with one's own thoughts can be a great adventure, but little compares to hiking in good company. This all-ages activity can be a wonderful bonding experience between families or friends. Be sure to know each other's physical limitations.
  4. Apparel and Gear - Check the local weather and dress accordingly. Even if it's a hot day, bring a light jacket just in case. Long pants are best when hiking in dense vegetation, as they will keep your legs clear of poison oak and any other irritant or pest in the wild. A backpack is a nifty item to bring. Fill it with water, snacks, and some emergency items like a flashlight, first aid kit, a field guide, and anything else a hiker would need. Of course, no hiking wardrobe would be complete without the boots.

Choosing the Right Hiking Boots

Imagine going off-roading in a vehicle fitted with tires from a town car. Choosing the wrong footwear for certain terrains can cause all sorts of problems, not only for the longevity of the shoes, but for your comfort and ability. Below are some aspects to consider when choosing the right pair of hiking boots.

  • Weight: Hiking boots vary in weight, it's always important to try them on and make sure they aren't too heavy. Having essentially little weights strapped to your feet can make a one mile stretch feel like you've been walking for hours.
  • Traction: Whether walking on uneven and rocky trails, or steep and slick ones, you need a pair of boots that can grip whatever terrain they're set on.
  • Breathability: Feet sweat and without adequate breathability, the boots will hold onto that heat and moisture. Keep the odors down and the comfort up by wearing a breathable boot. Of course, if you’re hiking through watery terrain, you need that waterproofing, so it’s a tough balance. 
  • Length: Though not as important as the previous specifications, it's ideal to choose a boot that comes up at least above the ankle. This extra bracing of the ankle can potentially prevent a twisted ankle if you lose your footing. If snakes are abundant in the area, opt for a mid-calf boot.

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