Now that the weather is warmer, it’s time to head outdoors to exercise. And if you want to take your walking routine up a notch, why not hit the trails and try hiking? Whether you live in a big city, the suburbs, or in a rural area, you can easily take a hike through a local park, a woodsy part of town with well-marked trails, or on the beach (sand makes for a great workout!) — or check out Rails to Trails to find old railroad tracks that have been converted to trails in your area.
Hiking not only challenges your muscles in new ways and helps you lose weight faster, it’s also a great opportunity to get in touch with nature, relieve stress, and enjoy the fresh air. Bring the family along!
If you’re a hiking newbie, follow these tips before you head outdoors:
healthy snacks and water.
You can bring nuts, reduced-fat mozzarella cheese sticks, or natural
peanut butter and veggies on all Phases. On Phase 2, you can
enjoy some fruit — dried apples and pears travel well. Our South
Beach Diet 100-Calorie Snack Bars, Good to Go Cereal Bars, Extra-Fiber Good to
Go Bars, and Gluten-Free Good to Go Bars are also convenient take-along options
when you don’t have time to prepare a snack. To carry your water, use a
reusable water bottle or canteen made out of polycarbonate.
the weather and dress accordingly. Layering is good
and having a rain jacket handy is a plus. Wear shoes that can handle the trails
and terrain. Hiking shoes or hiking boots are ideal for rugged paths because
they have more traction and are stronger and sturdier than regular sneakers.
And remember, synthetic athletic socks are better than cotton because they wick
away moisture and help keep your feet dry and blister-free.
map of the trail if possible.
Remember to check the weather and trail conditions before you start your
journey to ensure a safe trip. If you’re traveling to an unfamiliar area to hike,
check with a local bookstore or tourist organization for a map. You may also
try researching the area online to see if it’s possible to print out a map
before you go.
your conditioning. If you’re not in shape, a half-mile hike round-trip that’s less than 500 feet in
elevation gain is a good start. As you build your endurance you’ll be able to
hike longer (and steeper).
along a first-aid and emergency kit for longer hikes. Make sure it includes a safety blanket, bandages, a
flashlight, a small pocket knife, sun-block, insect repellent, and waterproof
- Always tell someone where you’re going and whom you’re with. This is important in case of an emergency. That way, if something happens, there will be a person who can help locate you. A GPS-enabled cell phone is also good to have.