The Shenandoah Valley offers the fortune of having the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains to look at every single day. On November 17th, we celebrate National Take a Hike Day. According to WebMD, hiking increases the amount of calories burned compared to walking on a flat surface. With the fortune of having mountains all around us, we have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this day, or any sunny day in the Shenandoah Valley. Days like National Take a Hike Day reminds us to get off of the couch and exercise. Some examples of health benefits to walking and hiking are:
- Reduces the risk of heart disease1
- Helps lose weight1
- Gain better balance1
- Reduce stress and anxiety1
- Reduce blood sugar1
Before you start your hike, you need to have the right tools. Hiking can be dangerous if you are not appropriately prepared. Here are some tips on what you need to hike safely:
- If you are a first time hiker, take it slow. Don't push yourself too hard1.
- Use a walking stick or walking poles to help you keep your balance on uncertain terrain1.
- Go hiking with a friend or family member. They will keep you company, and they can also help you navigate through the hike1.
- Be familiar with the trail that you are hiking on1.
If you are not into hiking, you can still be active. If you live in a neighborhood, find roads with hills and power walk up the hills. If you don't live in a neighborhood, find a safe place to walk that does have a hill that you can walk on. Power walking up hills will help increase your heart rate and will increase the amount of calories you burn.
Hiking trails are scattered throughout the Shenandoah Valley. The George Washington and Jefferson National Forest are two huge National Parks that are offer hiking trails that range from expert to beginner. You can find trails near you. Some examples of hiking trails nearby:
- Crabtree Falls Trail2
- Spy Rock Trail2
- North River Gorge Trail2
Information provided by Emily Campbell, student intern with Community Outreach at Augusta Health. To contact Dana Breeding, RN, related to the information in this article or with questions/ comments/ concerns, please call (540) 332-4988 or (540) 932-4988.