The next activity for family outdoor sports and recreation good vibes leads us to the joy of hiking. When I was younger and people would profess with vigor that they were going to go hike it up. Always sounded quite daunting to me, until I inquired further and came to learn that hiking is walking. For reals…just with a little more vigor added to it and usually takes place on a trail in the outdoors, rather than in an urban environment.
Benefits of Hiking
1. Physical Benefits of Hiking
The physical gains one may benefit from by indulging in a hike are pretty extensive. A cardio workout packed with power can yield some pretty beneficial cardiovascular results for your body by improving the levels of your blood pressure and blood sugar.
It adds a good boost to your bones being a weight bearing exercise. Your lower extremities, specifically the gluteus muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings get a good tone and workout from walking on various inclines.
If you are to outfit yourself with a pack up top on your back, your core and upper body can get in some good endurance training as a result.
2. Mental Health Benefits of Hiking
Hiking in a nature’s playground is a bountiful pursuit for a clear mind. Mind researchers studies show that our society as a collective are predominantly living in a state of stress. Somehow we were all conditioned to think that the struggle and the hard work and the late nights and the busy busy busy schedules with worrying, analyzing, living for the next moment and rushing around is a natural way to be in the world.
Well, I disagree.
Life happens for you, not to you. Your mind, your mindset, your thoughts, your conditioned beliefs, unconscious or conscious, your emotional reactions to your thoughts and what you focus your mind upon determines how your internal and external reality shows up for you. Going outside to hike in the expanses that this beautiful and magnificent Earth provides, will put you in a head space that is optimal and doctors are even prescribing patients to nature therapy treatments to reduce anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD in children and depression.
This is an effective, monetarily free manner to raise the bar for your mental well-being and invite mindfulness into your state of being.
3. Emotional Benefits of Hiking
We human beings are a beautifully manufactured, complex, yet impeccably designed technology. Our main operating systems consist of our brains and our hearts. When governed optimally and invested in, the coherence of these two systems allow you to expand your state of being and really enjoy your life experience.
Regulation of one’s emotions is a vital skill. If you allow your emotions to control you, then you are essentially enabling your own dis empowerment. Anger, fear, sadness, happiness, guilt, envy…if you are human, you are emotional. I have witnessed the conditioning that being emotional signifies weakness and I would contradict that with the idea that if you can fully experience and govern your emotions in a connected and accepting manner, then you can master them and how they impact you and ultimately your life around you.
Getting outside, in the fresh air, surrounded by nature is a great way to release, experience and express your emotions – emotional energy is stored in the energy of the body. Regulation of your emotional health plays a super important role in your overall health and well-being. Enjoying the outdoors around you and really connecting to nature can harness emotional feels that will lend themselves to a good vibe. It’s all connected.
4. Spiritual Benefits of Hiking
I’m not a Preacher, but I watch that show and really dig it. I have seen people practice different religions and I know there are many practices and beliefs and customs around the world. Like I said in an earlier post, I can only speak knowledgeably of my own experience and I have a connection with what I deem and have encountered as The Divine. I harness a spiritual practice that enables me to look beyond the day to day routine of things and connect with possibility and wonderment. Meditation is a very beautiful and empowering practice and for me and the healing I needed to accomplish in my life, it proved to be a priceless investment.
I believe it is important that we honour a place of peace and love in ourselves and our fellow human. If you are human and on this planet, whether you are conscious of it or not, you have a connection with something bigger than yourself. Even an atheist has an antagonistic relationship with the Divine – the relationship itself proves there is something.
Going for a hike connects you with this something. You can see it in rock faces and valleys, lakes and rivers and abundant forests. You ever walk into a forest and stand next to 300 year old tree and ever wonder about the very fabric of what is going on around you? Connecting with that divinely magnificent system that is our planet, puts you in resonance with energy of immense self empowerment.
Going outside, connecting with the Earth – there is power there – and you can tap into it, no matter what your belief system, a vibration of love is a good vibe. It is pure light. It is the fundamental feels that any human being will innately be
drawn toward, whatever form in which it comes. These vibes are generated in a big way within you when you dance in natures playground.
It is actually surprising and refreshing to engage in a practice that connects you with the Earth’s elements. You can really find out a lot about yourself when doing so and cultivate a broader experience for your health and well-being.
Take what hiking?
10 things you may want to consider having with you when you go for a hike:
1. The right foot gear
Luckily we live in a time when comfort, style and durability can be combined in a good pair of trail shoes or hiking boots. Terrain and duration of the hike should be considerations when deciding what to outfit your family in, in terms of footwear.
2. A Guide, Map and Compass
I know that your mobile phone can provide you with GPS and Google Maps is an asset to understanding where you are heading, but having a compass is a great directional tool and a handy old-school map or guide will ensure you have your bearings should cell service or technical issues arise with your mobile device.
3. Food Snacks
When you go hike, especially if you have kids in your entourage, good, wholesome snacks are a necessity to keep your energy up and satiate any hunger that may arise while en route. Granola bars, fruit, sandwiches, any food that is easy to transport and gives off a healthy vibe.
4. Water, water and then more Water after that
This is a given. Investing in a good amount of water consumption optimizes your system. Our bodies are mostly water. You lose up to 30% of your brains function if you don’t have enough water in your system. Hydration is key to survival. I recommend a good solid and large BPA free water vessel with one back up per hiker and a good level of water consumption prior to any physical activity.
5. Appropriate Attire
How you clothe yourself will determine your comfort. I recommend avoiding cotton because if you sweat and then cool down, the cotton will absorb and retain your body’s moisture and lead to all kinds of discomfort. I recommend dry fit clothing. It is breathable, stylish and comfortable and offers a variety of options in comfort, styles and brands.
6. Extra Clothes and Rain Proof Gear
Sometimes weather can be unpredictable and if you are hiking with your kids, then having an extra layer and a light rain jacket conveniently and compactly stored in a pack can mean a world of difference in terms of your success should Mama Nature decide to shed a few rain tears while you are enjoying your hike. Staying dry and warm means comfort which is a much better vibe than being cold and wet.
7. A Knapsack or Day Pack
There are some seriously cool and convenient hiking packs or even just day pack knapsacks that will keep the gear you require for a successful hike well stowed and easy to transport. (This can prove empowering for younger kids too, if you outfit them with their own mini pack with water and their favourite stuffy)
8. A Flashlight, Matches Whistle and Multi Purpose Tool
These items are a safety precaution. Having the ability to build a fire and/or blowing a whistle if you get lost are advantageous to have. If the sun is going down and you need a visual for your mapping, a flashlight will come in handy. A multi purpose tool (my mind immediately thinks Swiss Army Knife) kinda dealio is a very handy tool to have for any kind of fixes, repairs or unexpected situations that may need a knife or scissors (like cutting zap straps open – apparently my kid is in a “I’m loving the zap straps” phase of his life.)
9. First Aid Kit
As a Mama Bear, I have my band aid kit with ointments and varying sizes of plasters and fixer up kinda materials. Should anyone injure themselves, it is a great asset to any hiking pack.
10. Shades and Lotion
Protecting your skin and your retinas from the magnificent ball of fire that is the sun is imperative for your overall health and well-being. Once you hike a good while, you want to make sure that the results you yield are empowering, and this is not achievable if you are left with a sunburn, so protect yourself and have fun!!
Taking a camera to capture the magnificent views you are bound to encounter would be my number 11 but nowadays most people are with a cell phone camera so it is probably a given that these items will be in your pack – whatever your choice, camera or camera phone – hikes can be memorable so having a visual record to accompany the rad memory will be a worthwhile pursuit! So if you are up for a hike, have at it and enjoy yourself!