This Saturday, November 17th, lace up your boots and get out your compass for National Take a Hike DayOn this day, you and everyone else across the United States are encouraged to get outside and walk a trail. There are over 60,000 trails in the National Trail System, providing you with ample new places to explore! Now is also the perfect time to soak up as much sunlight as you can before it gets too cold to be outside.
The goal of National Take a Hike Day is to get you up and moving, which has numerous benefits for your overall health. The American Heart Association recommends that you engage in moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes per week to improve cardiovascular health. Moderate exercise can be a leisurely bike ride, a couple of laps in the pool or a modest paced hike. Physical activity can also be protective and vital in the management of numerous chronic diseases.
4 Health Benefits of Movement
- Stress management.Physical activity releases endorphins, often referred to as “the feel good hormone.” Endorphins are a chemical that triggers a positive response feeling in the body. Thus, after you engage in body movement, you may also feel happy, on top of feeling good, strong and accomplished!
- Improve sleep.The exact science of why people who exercise more frequently get more sleep is unknown, however a relationship has been established between individuals who exercise and a decent night’s sleep. If you think about it, you are making your body work harder and burn more energy, which in turn makes your body and brain tired – leading to a more deeper and satisfying
- Bone health. Moderate exercise can improve balance as well as coordination, lessening the chances of falling and breaking a bone. Weightbearing exercise puts stress on your bones, making them bones work harder and strengthening them over time.
- Lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Meaningful body movement can help your cells become more sensistive to insulin, leading to a decrease in the amount of glucose circulating in your blood, thus reducing your risk of diabetes or creating better glucose control. Exercise also plays a role in your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or the “good” cholesterol, which is heart healthy!
Snacking and Hiking
Depending on the length and intensity of your hike, you may want to take a snack with you to keep your energy up! Unfortunately, most prepackaged snacks, like protein bars and trail mix, are often full of added sugars and fat. However, there is another option! You can prepare snacks at home to bring with you.
- Precut apples dipped in peanut butter. Tip: coat your apples with some lemon or lime juice to prevent them from browning before you eat them!
- Homemade trail mix – check out my blog post from August on tips to make your own! (link)
- A bag of lightly salted or unsalted nuts, think cashews, walnuts, almonds. This will keep you satiated and full of energy during your hike!
- Broccoli and cauliflower bites – chop up some of thse delicious veggies (or include others like peppers, carrots) and pack them in a baggie for a crunchy snack.
- Overnight oats in a mason jar – this is a great option if you’re going for an earlier hike and still craving some breakfast! Check out my recipe for vanilla maple and pomegrante overnight oats! (link)
Now that the weather is getting a little chilly, don’t forget to bundle up before heading out! It might feel warmer at the base of your hike, but it’ll get colder at higher elevations!
Time to grab a buddy, hit a trial and enjoy the sunshine while you can!
Your turn to action:What is your favorite trail to hike? Let me know in the comments below.