We love fall. In our younger days, it meant going back to school, meeting new kids, playing football. It represented a time of new opportunities and adventures. It still does.
While we haven’t been back to school in years, and the mere thought of making an open-field tackle has us reaching for the ibuprofen, we still see fall as a time for new opportunities and adventures. Cooler temperatures, drier air, fall color: there’s no better time for an adventure on the trail. A lot of you already know this. But many of you do not. To those of you in the latter category, we have three words of advice:
Take a hike.
Really, move away from your screen and take a hike this fall. Actually, take a bunch of hikes. At least one a week. It’ll do you a world of good, for a slew of reasons.
First there are the benefits to your physical health, a list that seems to grow by the day. Among those benefits:
- Hiking reduces your chances of heart disease.
- Hiking on a regular basis can lower blood pressure by 4 to 10 points.
- A frequent walk in the woods can help reduce your chances of getting diabetes. If you already have the disease, hiking, combined with proper diet, can reduce or even eliminate the need for insulin therapy.
- As a weight-bearing exercise, hiking can help stave off osteoporosis.
- A regular exercise program centered around hiking, coupled with a sound diet, can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Depending upon your pace and other factors, you can burn up to 500 calories per hour hiking.
Those are just some. You can read about more here.
But probably the best health benefit of taking a walk in the woods? It clears your head.
When we started our corporate hiking program in 2013, our goal was to give a physical outlet to people stuck behind a desk all week. In fact, the vast majority of participants were there to simply zone out for a couple of hours. In the six years since, we’ve found that the majority of our hikers are motivated by the mental benefits of hiking, of being able to detach for a while and let the mind loose to wander. The physical rewards — the weight loss, the improved cardiovascular health, the building of stronger bones — was gravy.
We have two ways to help beginners discover the trail.
- GetHiking! Meetup hikes. We have seven GetHiking! chapters, in North Carolina and Virginia. Each chapter generally has hikes on the weekends, especially in the fall. Not all hikes are geared toward beginners, but many are. Read the hike description and you should be able to tell (and if not, contact the hike leader to see if her/his hike is suitable for someone new to hiking). Find a list of our chapters (in Charlotte, the Triad, the Triangle, Western North Carolina and Greenville in North Carolina, and Charlottesville and Virginia Beach in Virginia), and links, here.
- GetHiking! Fall 2019 Series for Beginners. Need a little more assurance that the hike you’re going on is indeed beginner friendly? Our Fall 2019 Series for Beginners is just that. Every Sunday afternoon beginning Sept. 15 and running through Nov. 17, we’ll meet at 1 p.m. at a different trail around the Triangle for a hike. The fist hike is 1.5 miles, the last is just over 5 (imagine being able to hike 5 miles by Thanksgiving!). And no hiker is too slow: we lead from the back, insuring that no one is left behind. You’ll also receive a guide to 25 places to hike in the Triangle, advice on gear, and a weekly enewsletter with details on the week’s hike and hiking tips. This 10-week series gives all the support you need to become a bonafide hiker. Learn more about the program and sign up here.
Fall is just around the corner. Recapture the fall of your youth by making it a time of renewal and rejuvenation, a time of adventure.
Join us on the trail!
Those GetHiking! links again
For more information about our seven GetHiking! Meetups in North Carolina and Virginia, go here.
For more information on our GetHiking! Fall 2019 Hike Series for Beginners, go here.
Not a beginner?
We’ll be back next week with a look at where we’re headed this fall on hikes for more advanced hikers. Until then, check out what’s going on with your local GetHiking! Meetup here.