Hike for the Health of It

News & Tips: Hike for the Health of It

HikeForTheHealthOfItRL blogHave you stayed the course on the promise you made as the New Year was born? For many, statistics show that the New Year's resolution promise is broken by the end of January.

A popular New Year's promise is to improve personal health. Even avid hikers who log a couple hundred trail miles annually proclaim plans to improve endurance and overall health. February is Heart Health Month, which brings attention to heart disease that annually kills 600,000 Americans. Many of those deaths could be prevented with a bit of a lifestyle change of eating and exercise.

The average outdoors enthusiast may consider themselves fairly physically fit because of their time spent outside. But the truth is, everyone could improve their health to some degree, which leads to a better life experience, not just more hiking miles logged.

I've also made the commitment to myself and family, that I will put more wear and tear on a couple pairs of hiking boots. I also plan to incorporate a few other outdoor favors of mine with this year's treks. I've selected a few out-of-the-way fishing lakes to visit on foot with fly rod in pack. Scenic views deserving a dose of photography reached after a day's hiking is also on the adventure list. The extra miles will do my heart good.

The psychological benefits gained from hiking are as important as the physical benefits. There is not a better way to clear your mind of stress than by hiking into the woods where things remain simple but wondrous. When kids are along for the hike, the sometimes-present sarcasm is likely to be absent. What a wonderful opportunity to talk with a child or teenager about the important things in life with no interferences.

Any time spent on a trail is positive experience even when the going gets tough. Think of the fun stories to share with fellow trekkers. A person doesn't need to do a 5-mile trek each day to have a healthy hike. A short walk along the water's edge, an in-town hike up a few city blocks, or a neighborhood excursion along the backside of the building lots will provide a decent little hike with big benefits. It's all about getting out there more often — if only for the health of it.