Hike off the holidays

In today’s Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer there’s a story about the challenges of maintaining your weight, your health, your sanity during the stressful holidays that will momentarily be upon us. The story even cites science to show what you’re up against.

A bummer, to be sure. But, as the story, emphasizes, there is hope. It points out a number of ways you can combat the stress of the season. One way we’ll elaborate on here: stay, or get, active. An especially good way going into the holiday season: take a hike. In fact, take several, starting with the Thanksgiving holidays.

Why hike?

It’s fun, for one, and being out in the wild with all sorts of distractions makes your workout feel like less of a workout. But a workout it is, a calorie-burning workout. Most calorie calculators tend to be someone-to-wildly inaccurate. That said, one of the more interesting ones we’ve found, at the Hiking Science blog, tells us that a 170-pound person lugging a 20-pound pack and hiking 5 miles on a trail that gains 750 feet (that’s an average grade of 5.68 percent, fyi), would burn 408.88 calories. (That’s not quite enough to burn off two buttermilk dinner biscuits, according to Esquire.com.)

Not a huge dent, especially considering the classic traditional Thanksgiving meal can run up 3,000 calories. But it’s something, and if you keep it up through the four-day weekend you may start something something bigger than a mere tit-for-tat battle to keep the holiday calories at bat: You could launch a holiday exercise regimen that will curb your cravings for sugar and fat into the new year.

Yes, you say, but I live in one of the state’s seven largest metro areas. Where could I possibly find a place to hike near where I live?

At the GetGoingNC.com/Great Outdoor Provision Co. online hiking guide is where. Just click on the appropriate city below and you’ll be whisked to a page with short descriptions of five hikes in that market. Find one you like, click on it and you’ll be given all the information you need to plan and execute a hike.

So start clicking and planning your active start to the holiday season. And if you’re interested in that story we mentioned earlier, the one appearing today in the Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer, but don’t have time to read it today, comeback tomorrow to this space and you can read it in its entirety, with links (it’s OK, I have permission — and I wrote it).

Happy holiday hiking!

* Hike Chapel Hill.
* Hike Charlotte.
* Hike Greensboro.
* Hike Greenville.
* Hike Raleigh.
* Hike Wilmington.
* Hike Winston-Salem.

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