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Taking A Hike May Not Be So Bad

By Tom Herrin

The winter months tend to do take a toll on us most of the time.  We have the joy and stress of the holidays along with the tendency to stay shut in.  And while we have that natural inclination to just stay put, we look for ways to stay more fit.  We all know that staying inside often leads to eating more.  A great benefit of living in the South is that we can still enjoy the outdoors in the winter.  We’ll have those spells where we can’t get out, but those are usually pretty short lived.

Hiking can be a great activity for the whole family more often than not.  

There Is Plenty To See

An abundance of state parks makes good hiking available for anyone.  Hiking in cooler weather just seems to clear your head.  You may find yourself noticing things you forgot were there.  A friend of mine from the north once commented on how many kinds of birds we had.  I had never really thought about.  I just took it for granted.  After that, I discovered there were all kinds of things around me I had overlooked.  I began to notice the different kinds of trees and other scenery as well.  It can be pretty impressive, and it is much more pleasant to hike when you are looking around and appreciating what you see. 

Can Hiking Replace Other Exercise? 

A great thing about hiking is that you can pace yourself.  There is no need to overdo it.  You will find that it becomes easier each time.  You will naturally increase the level of exercise you get.  You just want to remember to stay on a marked path and keep track of where you are.  Don’t just start out walking and go too far without a plan on how to get back.  I’ve done that.  I learned a lesson.  Another thing is that you can do it alone or with friends or family.  Hiking can be a great opportunity to spend time with kids and teach them to appreciate the outdoors and exercise at the same time.

Do I Need Special Equipment? 

An excellent advantage with hiking is that you don’t have to go all in at once.  You just need some good shoes and the right clothing.  Just remember that if it is a little cool when you start out, it will probably feel just right once you have walked a little.  Your body will heat up as you go.  Take a look at the wind and other conditions.  Start small and then build up.  Pretty soon you will gain a knowledge of how to plan as you take on greater challenges.  Georgia has had some really good programs to encourage use of the state parks.  So go take a hike, and don’t forget your camera.

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