Not a hiker? It’s time you became one

Hiking has long been lauded for it’s health benefits. Hiking regularly can lower your blood pressure and reduce your chance of heart disease. It can lower your risk of certain cancers and of getting diabetes. It improves muscle fitness and can help stave off osteoporosis. When you hike during the day, you sleep better at night.

Of course, once you become a hiker you tend to forget about these benefits, because simply being on the trail is reward enough. (Did we mention that the endorphins released during a hike help relieve anxiety, reduce stress and simply make you happier overall?)

Hiking already had a lot going for it. Now, during the pandemic, it can play an even more vital role in protecting your health. Research suggests it’s perhaps the safest exercise you can do right now: it’s outdoors, it’s easy to physically distance yourself from others, it’s accessible — probably more than you know.

You’ve tried it, you like it

Odds are that even if you weren’t a hiker before the pandemic hit in March, you’ve probably dabbled in it since. With recreational and entertainment options limited, especially in the beginning, record numbers turned to the trail, to the point that some North Carolina state parks have had to close their gates on weekends — as early as 9 a.m. (or an hour after opening) —once they reach capacity. And judging from the fact this phenomenon has continued from the glorious days of spring, when it’s impossible not to love the outdoors, into the steamy days of summer, this is more than just a passing infatuation.

Intrigued … and intimidated

So, you’re intrigued by hiking. And a little intimidated. 

For starters, you’ve felt well equipped for your 1- or 2-mile forays into the woods: shorts, a t-shirt, sneakers — they seem to do the trick. But say you want to go longer. Your feet already hurt a bit at hike’s end, making you wonder about those sneakers. Your cotton clothes get sweaty-wet — and you stay drenched until you get home and shower. You’re also a little parched and hungry at hike’s end: you’d need more in the tank to soldier on, but what? The trail you’ve been returning to is nice, but certainly there must be other places to hike. And places with fewer people, too.

Hiking needn’t be complicated — that’s part of the stress-relieving joy. But with a little bit of direction, with a gentle push in the right direction, you can greatly lessen your learning curve. Which is why we’ve launched our Let’s GetHiking! Introduction to the Trail for the Aspiring Hiker program. 

Let’s GetHiking!

Our goal since we launched GetHiking! in 2013 has been to empower new hikers. Along the way we’ve learned a lot about how to make that happen. This class reflects what we’ve learned in these seven years, about what beginning hikers need, about what they respond to, about what they like, and about their limits.

Here’s how our Let’s GetHiking! Intro program works: 

  • Let’s GetHiking! Intro to Hiking Zoom meeting. We cover the basics of hiking, of how to find trails suitable for beginners, how to dress, what to take, what to expect, how to start.
  • Five hikes geared toward beginners. We lead 5 hikes ranging from about 2.5 to 4 miles at a leisurely pace. We provide custom maps and route directions for each hike, to help you get a better sense of the terrain you’re hiking and your pace.

In addition, you get: 

  • Let's GetHiking“Let’s GetHiking! A Quick and Comprehensive Guide (2nd Edition).” This 110-page guidebook goes over all the essentials for becoming a confident hiker. The expanded Second Edition includes sections on next-level hiking, including hiking at night, hiking in the rain, and hiking in summer’s heat.
  • “Explore Your Neighborhood: A Guide to Discovering the World Immediately Around You.” For those times when you haven’t the time to drive to a trail, this guide shows you how outdoor adventure can be had right out your front door.
  • Guide to 25 hikes near you. You needn’t travel far to find good hikes. This guide identifies 25 hiking options close to where you live.
  • GetHiking! enewsletter. Our weekly enewsletter keeps you updated on news and upcoming hikes, and offers hiking tips, resources, gear recommendations, hiking podcasts and videos that offer direction and information, and more.

One more thing to know about hiking: it’s a lifelong pursuit. Think about it: on those short hikes you’ve done since March, did age appear to be a barrier to getting out and exploring the trail? Better still, hiking is a self-perpetuating practice. The more you hike, the better condition you’re in, the longer you’re able to keep hiking as you age. It is the perfect workout. A workout, that is, minus the work.

You’ve taken the first steps. Let us help you complete the journey.

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Learn more and sign up

Our “Let’s GetHiking! An Introduction to the Trail for the Aspiring Hiker,” program begins Tuesday, Aug. 18 with an Intro to Hiking Zoom meeting from 6-7 p.m. (a link will be provided upon signing up for the class). We have sessions scheduled for the Eastern Triangle (Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Knightdale), Western Triangle (Durham, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough), and Triad (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point), with hikes scheduled for both Wednesday evenings (beginning Aug. 26) and Saturday mornings (beginning Aug. 22). 

Learn more and sign up by clicking on the appropriate link below. 

Already a hiker?

Already an established hiker but need the discipline of a scheduled hike to keep you hiking? We also have a GetHiking! Fall 2020 hiking program geared toward your needs. There are 12 hikes in the session, which begins Sunday, Aug. 9 and runs every Sunday through Nov. 1. We have separate morning (beginning at 10 a.m.) and afternoon (beginning at 1 p.m.) hikes. Hikes range from 3.5 miles to 8 miles.

Learn more and sign up by clicking on the appropriate link below. 

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