Healthy Hiking

Healthy hiking? Is there another kind? Exercise is good for you period. Almost anyone, save the elderly and feeble or disabled, can go out and walk. As for hiking, well, there are two kinds of hiking, urban hiking and trail hiking.

Urban hiking is just what it sounds like. Taking a nice long walk in an urban area, whether it is full-on city, or scenic suburbia, is just as good for you as a hike down your favorite wooded trail, and may even have some interesting sights that you wouldn’t see in the woods.

For instance, you could go to the nations” â„¢ capitol and hike the landmarks and not only get some good for you and healthy exercise, but also see some sights that a lot of Americans never see. For instance, I have lived my entire life in America and have never been to the capitol to see famous landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument.

Granted, most of us do not live where there are sights this interesting, but I’m sure there is something of interest near your home, maybe. Even if there isn’t there is still the benefit to your health. But some people want to get away from it all for an hour or two and that can be done by visiting a local park for your hiking activities. Just a couple of miles from our home is a very nice park with a large 35 acre lake that has a walking path around it. Lots of birds and chipmunks running amongst trees and bushes with little plaques telling you what they are. It is quite picturesque and enjoyable.

Then there are the serious hikers, the guys that go off into the wild with a backpack full of gear and a big honkin’ bag of trail mix. Trail mixes have all kinds of goodies in them, nuts, seeds, raisins, and chocolate to get the energy you need. But for overnight hikes or weekend getaways, you will need more than that. Jerky is handy to have for on the go, but when you make camp you will want something more substantial. Canned or packaged foods designed for this type of activity are ideal, but you can make do with some canned meats and some dried fruits. And they make some handy additives for water now that help to take the mundane out of it. Just be sure to take your trash home with you.

Most of us aren’t up for that level of hiking, but if you are, then you are really getting some exercise there. The casual hiker may walk a few miles around the park, but this type of hiking may take you well off the beaten path and last for many miles or even many days. Ten to twenty mile hikes are serious treks that you have to be prepared for, especially in rough terrain. Proper clothing, footwear, ample water supplies and food, and a first aid kit are advisable. Compass or GPS, a cell phone for emergencies and a snakebite kit wouldn’t hurt either. Don’t forget the sunscreen, sleeping bag and tent, toiletries, machete, hatchet, AK47.

Well, ok, maybe not an AK47, but if you go hiking in territory where there are bear or mountain lions you would be well advised to pack a handgun with enough power to defend yourself against such an event, (.44 magnum comes to mind). Most likely you won”t need it, but it”s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, just like the snakebite kit.

Unless you plan on rubbing two sticks together, you might want to bring a handy lighter, water proof matches, or a magnesium fire stick in case you need fire. And if it is going to be a weekend event, or longer, you might want to have a set of collapsible camping cookware, no sense in suffering, right? But it isn”t necessary to gear up like that and venture off into the wild, just walking around the block a time or two is technically hiking, and it is definitely healthy.


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