Want to hear the crunch of leaves beneath your feet? Feel the fresh air glide through your hair and celebrate your smokefree self? It’s time to take a hike. No, no, we don’t mean it that way.
If you’ve reached your smokefree goals, way to go! Applaud your triumph with a new, fun activity. Outdoor exercise in green spaces has been shown to benefit your mental and physical well-being, and hiking can be an ideal, low-impact activity for many.
Keep in mind, “hiking” does not have to mean backpacking through Yosemite. A casual walk around a nearby park or through your neighborhood on an afternoon is also worthwhile. If regular exercise is not part of your routine, don’t worry about starting off new—you can pick trails that match your fitness ability. Alternatively, if you are a seasoned athlete, choose routes that are more suitable to you.
Hikes of many kinds exist all around the U.S., in every nook and cranny. Yes, even in cities! Even if you don’t live within a stone’s throw from mountains or glamorous waterfalls, you might still be able to find relaxing and rejuvenating routes in or near your neighborhood with an online search or with hiking apps.
Celebrate a smokefree milestone by exploring the outdoors. Plan a weekly walk with a friend around your community. Or hit a more rural trail and pack a picnic, bring some friends, and make it a day to, once again, climb to the top and reach your goals. Read on for a handy checklist to help you get there.
A Checklist for Beginner Hikers:
- Start Small: Choose hikes that are one to two miles long so if you tire out, you won’t be too far from the start or finish line. Also, pay attention to elevation. Some hikes may be short but on a steep incline—save those until you have some hiking experience and boosted endurance.
- Stay Hydrated and Fed: Though it may not seem like you’re exerting yourself much, hiking burns lots of calories. Be sure to have snacks and water on hand to stay hydrated.
- Overestimate How Long it Will Take You: Planning your day around a hike? Sometimes it takes longer to complete than you’d think. Estimate about two miles in one hour, which takes into account time to take in the view, stop for a snack, or just pause to breathe in the outdoor air.
- Take a Friend: It’s always good to have a buddy by your side as you wander out. Getting turned around on trails is not unheard of, and having someone with you is always a good precaution—and also, we hope, good entertainment and conversation.
- Take a (Furry) Friend: Dogs are also fantastic companions on the trail (if they’re allowed on the hiking grounds) and will likely enjoy the time outdoors just as much as you.
- Bring a Charged Phone: Along the same lines, bring a phone with you on the trail in case you’re in need of some assistance.
- Wear Sturdy Shoes and Hike-Friendly Clothing: Be smart about your attire and wear clothes that will help protect you from bugs and sun.
- Optional Items to Pack: A book, sunglasses, a picnic, headphones, and a camera to help you enjoy and capture your hiking adventure.
Now that you’re armed with hiking tips and tricks, get out there and take in that fresh, smokefree air.