While we are merely on the cusp of old man winter’s wrath, it’s important to make these last few chilly but tolerable fall days worthwhile.
It’s best to remain active during the colder months through activity that doesn’t exert a massive amount of energy outdoors. I tend to enjoy a quick morning run outside with some layers on, but there’s also another fall favorite for pleasure seekers: hiking
Hiking is your “buy 1, get 1 free” deal in disguise. Your mind and eyes are appeased aesthetically with gorgeous fall foliage (can you say photo opps galore?!) while you increase your heart rate climbing all of that rocky terrain. Reaching the peak of the mountain with a beautiful view is also a worthwhile pay-off.
Hiking is an excellent form of cardio that aligns perfectly with the fall season.
Here’s a guest post from Quinn of Healthy Living by Quinn, explaining what to bring along for an enjoyable hike:
Seven Hiking Essentials
With the sunny, mild afternoons and the colorful display of the changing leaves, fall is the perfect season to work some hiking into your fitness routine. Getting outside, breathing fresh air, and taking in scenic views are the perfect tonic for a gym routine that is starting to feel like a tedious grind. Hiking is also great whether you opt to go solo, with a significant other or with family and friends.
Ideally, a fitness hike will take place along a trail somewhere near your home, or at least within a short drive. Your hike should be paced to your current fitness level and the amount of time you have available. Plan accordingly because it’s very likely the whole process will take at least an hour, if not several. At a minimum you’ll want to pack these seven essential items to ensure that you not only get the most out of your outdoor workout, but also enjoy yourself as well!
Water Bottle with Filter
A trail may not have a source of water available, so it’s wise to bring your own. Even wiser to bring a bottle with a built-in filter, in the case of an emergency situation arising where it is necessary to drink water from a questionable source. A bottle with a filter will add bulk and weight to your pack, however, so if you are going on a short hike or are absolutely certain there is a clean water supply along the way, you may want to take a regular lightweight plastic bottle instead.
Even in cooler temperatures, the sun can still do a number on your skin with extended exposure. Application of sunscreen is a must for hikes that are going to last an hour or more.
As the sun can damage your skin, so too can it damage unprotected eyes. But you certainly can’t rub sunscreen in them! Invest in a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection. If you wear contact lenses, ensure you bring backups, as you don’t want to be negotiating a rocky trail after losing a lens in the dirt. Wearers of prescription glasses should also consider a strap to keep them affixed to your head while hiking.
If you’re going to be carrying a few items alone, it stands to reason you’ll need something to carry them in! However, if hiking with a significant other becomes a regular routine, a unique backpack can be one of those great anniversary gift ideas for those romantic strolls and spontaneous picnics. In order to get the most out of your hike, daypacks are an ideal option. Daypacks are sized specifically for trips that aren’t meant to last overnight, but that require more than can fit in your pockets comfortably. If a hike meant for a daily fitness routine, you’ll want to look at smaller panel-loading daypacks that emphasize side and front pockets for quick and easy access to your stuff.
You’ve likely got a phone equipped with one already, but you might consider a lightweight digital camera with a zoom lens for taking high-quality pictures of the natural beauty you will encounter along the way.
Depending on your local climate and length of hike, it may be prudent to bring emergency rain gear to stay dry and avoid hypothermia. Even a lightweight emergency plastic poncho can make a huge difference when you find yourself caught in an unexpected shower a mile away from your car!
Long hikes with no restrooms could lead to emergency bathroom situations. Look for special biodegradable paper designed for hiking. Paper also decomposes much more quickly if it is buried about six inches in the ground; this additionally prevents other hikers from stumbling across someone else’s mess.
Give It A Try!
Hiking not only makes for an excellent workout, but is fun too! It’s healthy, it’s something different from the ordinary, and it can lead to unique moments encountering nature. Just be sure you’re properly prepared so that you have a smooth experience and get the most out of your exercise time.
Have you ever hiked before? What’s been your experience?
Peace, love and hiking!