It’s a beautiful time of year to get outside and enjoy the fall colors! Many people think that getting regular exercise means you have to hit the gym hard and sweat buckets in order to stay healthy, but it’s just not true. Getting outside and enjoying a long walk has great health benefits, while at the same time allows you to take in all the beauty of the fall season.
In a 2009 study by Dr. Tim Church at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center it was found that walking has many positive effects on health. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, and metabolizes blood sugar which can lower the risk of diabetes.
Even just a little bit of activity such as walking at a pace where you can easily hold a conversation will give you great benefits. Walkers in Dr. Church’s study also reported less anxiety, reduced depression symptoms, and more energy. So why not tie on your walking shoes and get moving?
If you’re ready to head out for that fall hike or walk, be prepared with a few supplies:
1) A hydration pack. This is a great option to bring instead of a water bottle, as it serves two purposes: it ensures you’re getting enough water (as it holds much more than a regular water bottle), and the pack can conveniently hold anything else you need to bring along with you! Since the bladder inside is lightweight, your pack will weigh less with the more water you drink. For an added boost of electrolytes and vitamin C, add True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade to your water. It will encourage you to drink more by adding that tasty flavor, and keep you going strong throughout your hike. Here are some more great reasons to add True Citrus to your water.
2) Well-fitting hiking boots. If you decide to walk a trail through the woods, it might be a good idea to look into some sturdy hiking boots or shoes. They are designed to support your feet and ankles in specialized terrain, and will help protect from water, rocks, and other debris you may come across. Look into finding a pair that fits you well so that you don’t end up with blisters. Here is a good place to start for finding hiking boots that fit your needs (and your feet).
3) A warm hat. You’ve probably heard that we lose about half of our body heat through our head, but that’s actually a myth. The biggest reason why we lose heat from our heads is because we often don’t cover them! Bring a hat along with you in case temperatures begin to drop while you’re out and about.
4) A lightweight waterproof jacket. When you’re in the wilderness, the weather can change at a moment’s notice. One moment the sun is shining, and the next you’re shivering in your boots! Bring along a jacket just in case, preferably a lightweight one that won’t weigh down your backpack. Rain is always possible too, so make sure it’s waterproof so that you can stay warm and dry.
5) Plenty of healthy snacks. If all the conditions are right and you’re having a great time, you won’t want to have to turn back just because your tummy is grumbling. Load up your pack with some healthy snacks to keep your energy up, such as CLIF bars, trail mix, beef jerky, Kind bars, or Luna bars.
6) An arm band for music. You may love the peace and quiet, but having a playlist of soothing classical or jazz music, or even an entertaining podcast can make a long walk even more enjoyable. Put your music player or phone in an arm band so that it’s easily accessible.
7) First-Aid Kit. There’s always a chance that along your hike you could trip and scrape a knee, or encounter a slick rock near a stream. Being prepared with just a basic first-aid kit will ensure that you have a bandage if you need one.
8) A thermos with a warm drink! As we’ve mentioned before, nothing can be more comforting than a warm drink on a cool day. For a little treat on your hike, fill a thermos with some hot water and True Lemon Fruit Orchard Crisp Apple Medley. It’s perfect for toasting with your hiking buddy at the end of a long walk!
[Credit: Neighmond, Patti. “Take A Hike To Do Your Heart and Spirit Good.” NPR.]
[Credit: Gammon, Katharine. “Do We Really Lose Half Our Body Heat From our Heads?” Live Science.]