|Practice Mindfulness on Your Next Hike|
“We all deserve to have more peace in our lives, and I truly believe nature and hiking can bring that to us.”
Last month co-founder Karla shared her top tips on practicing mindfulness on the trails presented by Aftershokz.
- Check the weather.
- Select a trail and distance that matches your ability.
- Dress in a couple layers. Even if it’s hot have extra layers available, in the event you get lost and delayed in returning the temps may drop as it nears nightfall.
- Pay attention to landmarks on the trail.
- Apply Sunscreen 30 minutes before you get on the trails, every 80 minutes thereafter. Lip balm with SPF is a must as well.
- Water and Electrolytes. Hydrating days prior to a big hike can help to minimize dehydration. You should always carry 2-3 liters and extra in the heat. Hydrate after the hike with electrolytes too.
- Wear a hat to help keep your head cool and protect you from direct sunlight.
- Hike early morning or evening – or go for a night hike on the next full moon!
- Recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. WebMD.
- Don’t cross water if it’s above your knees. If you do, find a natural bridge or cross facing upstream while shuffling your feet.
- Tips for hiking in bear country.
- Hike at a fitness level that’s at a level for your least fit or experienced person if hiking in a group.
- Learn how to read a map (if you don’t already know how).
- Use a compass.
- Stay on the trails.
- wear appropriate clothing. Shoes should fit comfortably and be broken in already.
- In the backpack (depending on experience, length and difficulty of hike); bug spray, water, nutrient dense snacks, sunscreen, lip balm, extra socks, wet socks suck and holes can cause blistering, hat (unless you are wearing one), first aid supplies, map, compass, fully-charged cell phone and GPS, poncho, plastic storage zipper bags, dry bags, tarp, whistle, knife or multi-purpose tool, flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries in them. All that being said, don’t take a bunch of extra stuff. That will only weigh you down, slow you down and fatigue you. Take essential hiking provisions.
- Add to your kit a small fire starter kit in case of stranding (being lost) overnight or cold weather emergencies only. Make sure you know how to start a fire without starting a forest/wooded trail fire. Forest fires can spread extremely fast. And even more so in some areas where weather conditions cause high risk factors for fire. Please please please know what your doing with your fire kit, in advance of your hike!
- Learn about poisonous plants indigenous to your area.
- Learn about the wildlife indigenous to your area.
- Know your locations hunting seasons🥺 You don’t want to get mistaken for a target 😧
- Make stops along the way. Set your pack down, drink some water and give your muscles a rest.
- Make sure someone at home knows the trail route you’re taking.
- If it’s raining, remember to use caution, even leaves can be slick.
- Know your poison ivy!
The 10 Hiking Backpack Essentials
Repair Kit and Tools
Resources: If you aren’t familiar with the details of each of the ten categories of the 10 Essentials, we recommend reading our Guide to the 10 Essentials.
Don’t let the rain stop you from hiking!
Here are some tips to make sure you stay safe…
- Choose the Right Trail – Pick a shorter hike that will take a few hours rather than all-day. Make sure you read up on the trail beforehand to see if there are creeks or slippery sections that are prone to flooding.
- Wear the Right Clothing – Make sure your jacket is waterproof. You want to stay dry from the rain but also have a material that wicks away sweat.
- Bring the Right Gear – Invest in a rain cover for your backpack. You can also use dry bags or ziploc bags to keep your gear dry inside your pack.
- Bring the Right Snacks – You most likely won’t stop for a picnic so pick grab-and-go snacks like nuts and granola bars. Consider a thermos if it’s cold.
- Have the Right Attitude – Learn to love the rain – the trails will probably be less crowded and if you’re adequately prepared, you’ll soon love it!
I still do some at home workouts. But I really feel too strongly about getting out in nature and just moving. You can walk, hike, run, swim, etc… But the added benefits to getting outside and away from technology for a hot minute is well worth it. At home and gym workouts are awesome for changing up your routine, getting out of the rain and snow, or just meeting other people and that energy vibe you get from working out around other people. But stepping away from the TV, the computers and the tablets can change your entire mental outlook for the day. So get outside and take a walk!
First Landing State Park – Virginia Beach, Virginia
We love First Landing trails for hiking/walking and even trail runs. We love nature and the trails are easy to navigate. One of the trails lead to a beautiful hidden beach. First Landing it’s such a lovely place to be! There are tons of trails for hiking, biking and running. There is a trail center with maps, an informative museum,gifts, restrooms and a venue for special occasions. This is a great place for weddings, trail side or beach side. Where you can find me hiking the most.
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge – Virginia Beach, Virginia
Beautiful wildlife refuge and great spots for photo ops! It’s really peaceful at Back Bay. Off season some areas are restricted though so check with the websites for more info!
Northwest River Park – Chesapeake, Virginia
Pretty little park with paved walkways.
Chesapeake Arboretum – Chesapeake, Virginia
Very shady canopy. Well maintained trails. Tucked away behind a shopping plaza of all things. Take bug spray!
Norfolk Botanical Gardens – Norfolk, Virginia
Yes you have to pay for admission. But you are surrounded by beauty every step of the way. They have a snack bar and lots of places to sit if you get weary. Some areas are not shaded very well so it can get super hot in the middle of summer mid-afternoon. I love this place for a hike, even if it isn’t your normal “hike” type area.
Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve – Portsmouth, Virginia
Heavy salt marsh environment. Beautiful trails that wind through the surrounding forest and a big lake.
Sandy Bottom Nature Park – Hampton, Virginia
456 acres of wilderness and wildlife, with 8.6 miles of loop trail surrounding a lake as well as a nature center with educational information. The trails are accessible year-round, are great for any skill level and dogs are welcome as well as long as they are on a leash. This is a beautiful hike!
Newport News Park – Newport News, Virginia
Pretty view, isn’t it? This park offers 9 trails that cover approximately 30 miles, featuring a lake and plenty activities from bird watching to forested paths, fields of wildflowers, canoeing, as well as historical sites. The trails are considered suitable for all skill levels and can be fairly popular on nice weekend days, so if you prefer seclusion, get there early. Dogs are also welcome as well but must be on a leash.
BENEFITS YOU GET FROM HIKING AND WALKING
Improved cardio-respiratory fitness for your heart, lungs, and blood vessels
Improved muscular fitness
Lower risk of early death
Lower risk of coronary heart disease
Lower risk of stroke
Lower risk of high blood pressure
Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
Lower risk of high cholesterol
Lower risk of high triglycerides
Lower risk of colon cancer
Lower risk of breast cancer
Increased bone density or a slower loss bone and bone strength
With kids it lessens the chance of developing obesity
Better quality sleep
More vitamin D absorption
Get out and walk 💚😀
So why no running you may ask?
- Boredom – everyone needs a break from the run once in a while. And it’s a good thing to add in strength training and to work on different muscle groups.
- Adventure – Some, like me get restless with routine. If and when the run starts to lack joy I quickly move on to another type of workout. And just as quickly I’m then wanting to run again. But I tend to try and incorporate 3 or 4 different types of activity so I never get that restless feeling.
- Injury – With some running injuries running is out for a while, but other types of physical activity are allowed.
- Group Activity – It’s nice to get out of solo stuff and be with a group training or enjoying an activity, like repelling or climbing.
- Just Don’t Like It – Enough Said…
Indoor/Outdoor Rock Climbing
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
― John Muir
Hiking & walking in nature, for me, is blissful. And each season brings it’s own bit of wonder and wisdom to the hike. I never really sat down and wondered why I love to hike so much. I mean, yeah I love nature and getting any exercise is a pure endocrine giving burst while getting my body in better shape. But I knew it was more than that, something deeper, almost spiritual in form. I found a sense of peace as my footsteps hit the earth and my mind would wander to, wow, to nowhere, and yet everywhere all at the same time. But not in a rushed getting through the day mode, or not in the chaotic work essence. No, it was within a place of complete release. Complete mental relaxation. And that was when I realized, without knowing it, I was meditating by accident.
Having done meditation in a seated position in my home, and on the beach, I knew exactly what meditation was. But this was different, almost a purer meditation. I realized that my eyes drinking in the trees, the beaches, or the streams was guiding my meditation deeper within.
You don’t even have to believe in meditation for meditation to have effect. Meditation is nothing much more than allowing your mind to be still, and then, once still to allow it to wander to places of peace and zero stress. And nature is a remedy in itself for stress. Why do you think major white collar corporations do retreats to the wilderness camps?
In our hectic world of technology and as we rush from job to second job, or from work to making dinner for the family. Or when we have to study relentlessly into the wee hours of night just to get up to go take the test and a full day of classes. We forget to take time to really turn off. Many people turn to the TV to do that, when in fact it may distract, but it doesn’t help your brain find peace. It’s just living someone else’s fictional life instead of your own.
Meditation is hard on some. They don’t know the first steps, or just can’t do it automatically, can’t shut out the world outside. It takes practice. And patience. I think walking meditation is in some ways an easier starting point at meditating 101 because your body is still being allowed to move, while quieting the racket in your mind. I highly recommend being in nature though, not on a busy street where you have to watch for traffic, lights and hear blaring sirens and car honks. A peaceful little park will do.
Hiking. I like hiking more than any other physical exercise. And that in itself says a lot.Taking in nature in all it’s grand forms; mountains, trails, beaches, parks, etc… is very grounding and calming to me. Very meditative and gives time for introspection or even just the ability to shut the chatter of the mind completely out and just take in the scenery and feel the earth below my feet. I recently learned there is a term for what I like to do and it’s called Mindful Hiking. I like to let the experts do the talking so here is more info and ideas about stepping out on a meditative type of hiking experience!
Physical activity. Beautiful scenery. Who doesn’t like the occasional hike in the great outdoors? And when you add a little extra awareness to the experience, your outing can benefit both your body and your mind.