One of the hardest parts of staying active is finding exercise that is enjoyable, stimulating, and not repetitive. Going to the gym so often can begin to blend into a mundane routine. You should always try to mix in different types of workouts with different types of scenery in order to keep your mind and body guessing. With the fall colors fully in bloom, today is the day to consider shaking up your workout and taking it into the great outdoors.
Hiking is an amazing way to get a full body workout as well as a way to get your entire family involved in exercise and bonding. My family in particular absolutely loves getting out and braving a mountain. It will help your children to develop a love for nature and in turn a love for physical activity. Hiking is a sport that requires some essential gear and pre-planning. These are important both for your comfort and your safety. The following is a list of what every hiker should bring, even on short family hikes.
Backpack – A sturdy backpack that is the correct size for your body and sits comfortably on you is a definite need. You want this backpack to be large enough for both longer hikes and shorter hikes so size and capacity is definitely important.
Pro-tip – For a recent anniversary, my husband bought me an awesome picnic backpack from an anniversary gift-giving page. For our family hikes I can now carry the picnic backpack, which yields all the essentials for a great picnic on top of the mountain, and my husband can carry our large hiking bag that contains most of our gear.
Food and Water – A water bottle and a filter is necessary in order to stay hydrated. You never know how much a hike is going to take out of you until you get going. You can fill the bottle before you leave, and if you need to refill it somewhere on the trail then the filter comes in handy. Dehydration can occur quickly, so do not take chances. There are no guarantees on any trail of a clean water source. For food make sure to bring healthy, high-energy options that don’t go bad too quickly.
First Aid Kit – Band-Aids, antibiotic cream and tweezers for the removal of stingers or thorns are essentials in a first aid kit that you can bring while hiking. Also, be sure to include any prescription medication, allergy medicine and inhalers if anyone in your group requires them.
Flashlight – Remember, darkness falls faster when you are in thick woods. A little reassurance from your light will make the trip back easier and more enjoyable. Make sure to also check your flashlights batteries and if going on a longer hike I would suggest changing those batteries before heading out.
Hiking Boots – A sturdy pair of well-fitting hiking boots is something that is not an absolute necessity, but they are very helpful for sure-footed climbing and walking. Hiking boots will give you more stability and provide support for your ankles. You should be certain they are comfortable and fit well to avoid any blisters.
Sun Protection – Sun protection includes sunglasses, hats and a good sunscreen. They are important for both safety and comfort. Even when there is cloud coverage the sun’s powerful UV rays will be able to hit your skin.
Weather Appropriate Clothing – If it is cold starting out, layer and remove as the day warms up. If it is warm in the morning, do not assume it will stay that way. Bring clothing you can add on if the temperature drops. A rain jacket, change of socks and gloves are also smart to pack.
Discover the full-body workout that will let you enjoy the sweet smells and sights of nature. Bird watch, collect leaves, take pictures and have fun. Once you discover the enjoyment to be found on a hike you will be hooked.