Keeping Fit & Healthy Doesn't Have to Be a Chore

Some people have fought many years of their lives to preserve the
rich heritage of the outdoors and nature we now enjoy. That
dedication and effort have been rewarded by fantastic hiking
opportunities in our local, state, and national parks systems.
In honor of their efforts, let's break out of our winter
hibernation and venture into the crisp, clean outdoor air and hit
some of those dirt trails.

Here are 4 steps to an enjoyable hike, no matter where your feet
decide to take you.

1. Know the area you will be going into. Although many states,
like California, Colorado, or Wyoming have exceptional hiking hot
spots, even your local park will have some kind of useful
information. Whether it's a website with information and trail
details, or a map at the park office, trailhead, or visitor
center, always check before you head out on your hike so you know
what to expect.

2. Know the conditions you will be facing, wherever you go.
Nothing is worse than traveling to a hiking destination only to
miss the hike, because it was raining or freezing and you weren't
prepared. If the trail is flooded out, or snowy conditions have
shut it down for an extended period, you should be able to find
this out as well. It is also good to know if there are any
plants or animals to watch out for at your hiking location.
Wiping with poison ivy won't feel good in the morning.

3. Wear clothing that works and fits the terrain and hike
conditions. There are many options in your clothing arsenal, to
keep yourself comfortable, here are a couple of pointers:
- Try and stay away from cotton. Instead, look for synthetic and
natural fibers that pull moisture away from your body, or at
least stay warm when wet. - Also, go for layers to keep yourself
warm, versus carrying around a huge parka, in case you are hit by
a freak snowstorm. - The two most important pieces of clothing
for any hiker, are good socks and good shoes. Don't
underestimate the pain a hike can cause with uncomfortable shoes
and socks. Finally, a hat in cold weather is a great addition,
since your body loses over half its heat through your head.

4. In addition to knowing the weather conditions, you will need
to be prepared with a first aid kit that matches the hiking you
will be doing. In most cases a simple kit will do. You can pick
up a simple first aid kit at a local department or sporting goods
store. Or you can build you own, which should include these
basics: - Different sizes and shapes of bandages and gauzes. -
Various types of tape for wounds or fixing tools. - Suntan
lotion. - A light emergency blanket (preferably with some kind of
water resistance). - Aspirin, allergy, laxative, and
anti-diuretic medications. - Small multi-use tool with a knife,
scissors, and a needle and thread. - A cell phone can come in
very handy in emergencies. It is recommended that you pack all
of this in a waterproof bag or container.

These tips should ensure a comfortable, short hiking adventure.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any
disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any
health care program.

About the Author

Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News
where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on
many medical, health and lifestyle topics.