Intro to Fitness and Hiking

If you are still reading this blog four post in you have begun to develop a interest in the outdoors. Most of you haven’t developed a purpose to hike. From talking to other hikers I have learned they have a purpose that drives them to go out there week after week. Theses purposes range from finding yourself, seeing beautiful places, and exercise. In this blog we will be focusing on the physical benefits that hiking brings individuals.

Like breathing, walking is one of the most natural things for humans to do. Hiking is a form of exercise that all ages can participate in. Grandparents and grandchildren may all participate in this activity in one form or another. This is a healthy activity for all to do. It helps strengthen your entire body from head to toe. Hiking especially works your calves, thigh, quads, and glutes.

Your legs are one of the most important muscles in your body. Strengthening them translates through out your entire body. It improves your posture and can prevent back, neck, and shoulder problems. IMG_0418In addition, hiking is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. On average a person burns 500 calories per hour while hiking. If you start and end your day with a hour or even a 30 min hike or walk everyday, you will feel, look, and be healthier. I challenge you this week to take a hour hike everyday for a week and post the difference you feel after a week. I bet it will surprise you.

Livestrong!

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Hunter Creek Trail

Its 6 am on February 21st in Reno, NV and it’s my first day on trail in 2015. This is not a typical February morning in Reno. There is no nerve jolting winter breeze in the air. It’s a toasty 40 degrees out and the temperature is only rising as the sun gets higher and higher. There is usually snow covering the western mountains, surrounding the Reno Valley, but that is not the case this year. Although the groundhog saw its shadow, spring has sprung and its time to wipe off the dust on your boots to get some fresh dust on them.

IMG_1177For my first hike of the year, I decided to hike the Hunker Creek Trail. This is a short 5-mile hike in and out and takes an hour or two to complete. It has a variety of different types of terrain, including desert, woods, and a waterfall at the end. During this time of the year there is usually either snow on the upper trail and creek running down the mountain. The trail also has some obstacles, such as bouldering and crossings, as well as multiple switchbacks.

Today was not my first time on the trail. This is one of my favorite quick hikes in the Reno area. When I pulled on Plateau rd. the sun was just peaking its head over the eastern mountains. There were a few cars in the parking lot but no one to be found. Although I broke my rule from my second post, Your First Step, to never hike alone, it was great to getaway and free the mind.

It took over thirty minutes to see another person on the trail. Which surprised me because this trail is usually filled with dog walkers, joggers, and families. I made it to the falls in about an hour stopping periodically to take in the view. The waterfall was flowing decent from the snowmelt and had some ice formed on it. I completed the hike around 9 am with some dust, mud, and a clear mind. If you are in the Reno area this is an easy hike to do. Post your pictures from the hike or tell me about another good hike to take where you are.

 

Making a List

Preparing for your first hike. This is an exciting event especially if you have never been on a hike before. You might be scared to see a bear or might feel like you’re missing something. On my first hike the last thing on my mind was supplies. I was more worried about being eaten by a bear. Although nothing went wrong on my first hike, when I only had a beach towel but that is a story for a different time, I soon realized that I didn’t have everything I needed. To fix this problem I created a list.

Your hiking list should include the essentials you need for survival. Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) has created a list of essentials that I have used on all of my day hikes:

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun Protection
  3. Insulation
  4. Illumination
  5. First-Aid Supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair Kit and Tools
  8. Nutrition
  9. Hydration
  10. Shelter

Navigation includes maps and understanding the terrain you are hiking. Sun protection is a crucial necessity. One of the most common injuries while hiking are sunburns. Insulation is very important for staying cool and staying warm. Hypothermia and heat exhaustion are life threating physical disorders that may result from improper insulation. Nutrition and Hydration both go hand in hand. You should bring at least 1 liter for every three hours or a water purifier. In addition having a meal as well as bring non-perishable protein bar is always advised. These are the necessities for a normal hike. The remaining steps are designed to protect in an abnormal event.

The REI list is a great guideline to have while creating a list but should not be your list. Your list should be personal. Your list should include items needed for your particular terrain, physical needs, and desirers. My list personally includes a camera to capture moments to look back on. If you have any unusual items on your list please share.

Your First Step

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Everyone has gone through a stage in their life where they have looked around and have thought there has to be something more. Life can’t be so mundane that it only includes waking up, going to work, eating, and sleeping. Life is a precious gift and to fully experience it, you must explore it. Your exploration may come in many forms, such as, skiing, scuba diving or traveling. All of these activates may cost hundreds and thousands of dollars. Most of us can’t afford or don’t have the time to travel. The next best thing is to get out there and go for a walk.

Hiking similar to traveling brings you to new places and allows you to experience and see the beauty of the world. For some, the thought of hiking is nothing more than a bug trap with dirt, mud, and sweat. For those the outdoors may not be their thing. For others who aren’t sure try talking a walk on a city path to see if you like it. For individuals who already have a love for the outdoors hiking and camping can be the perfect mini vacation.

This all sounds like a great idea, but where to start is always the hardest question to answer. If you want to beginning hiking its always a good rule never to hike alone and always do research of the area before you hike. There also might be groups in your area that you could join. In Reno, one of the largest groups is the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. I will take about hiking groups in a later post. If you are still nervous to enter into the wild the best thing to do is get out of your chair a take the first step. I challenge you all to take a few hours out of your busy day take your first steps and then post them so another can find their courage to do the same.

Happy Trekking

Get out there and… R-E-L-A-X

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It’s the start of busy season in the accounting world. Financial statements are being prepared and tax returns are being file. This involves working 10 plus hour per day everyday and countless sleepless nights. One of the hardest parts during busy season is having the energy and time to do something other than work.

A profession should be a integral part of your life but shouldn’t be the only part of it. For me I am a accountant and love that part of my life but, I am more. Having different worlds is necessary to stay sane. That is where hiking and the outdoors come in for me.

Most people look at hiking as a way to get exercise or to see and be in nature. Hiking is all of these things but can be so much more. Hiking is a great way to get away from it all. It is a place where you can get away from the endless noise for a few hours and just breath and think. Being in the wilderness also allows people to find themselves when they’re lost and can teach them about life. It molds you and brings us back in time to our ancestors’ ways.

Things have changed since the time of our great grandparents. We still hike for the exploration but technology and resources have made this more convenient. Through new training techniques for extended hikes and new equipment have made the outdoors a safer place. This is especially true for backpacking. These developments have made entering the outdoors a possibility for everyone.