Take A Hike

Did you overindulge like most of us during the holidays? I set a New Year Resolution to lose weight and get in shape? I know it is my all the time resolution.  I have tried diet plans before only to find myself back to my old eating habits?  How do you keep your waistline in check when you overeat? Take A Hike! So says outdoor enthusiast extraordinaire and author Jeff Alt.   I just finished reading 'A Walk for Sunshine' and watched the DVD this weekend with Dear Hubby.  I was hoping this would help motivate both of us to get up and get out.  We need to keep our bodies not only in shape (yes Dear Hubby says round is a shape...but not one I like) but keep our joints and muscles in good working order.  That comes from use only!

Jeff Alt’s “Overeat and Lose Weight Plan” is a combination of walking, eating and exerting more calories than you consume. His method will prepare you to enjoy those moments of overindulgence; guilt free. He doesn’t endorse overeating unhealthy foods but he knows from his own habits how hard it ease to resist eating the food you love the most. Most really good food seems to come with a price tag of high calories, fat, and sugar.  Jeff is an avid hiker.  In addition to walking the 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail, he also walked the 218-mile John Muir Trail with his wife, and trekked across a 50-mile path of Ireland with his wife, young daughter, and extended family. He and his wife emerged from the church doors on their wedding day wearing backpacks, and his son was taken on his first hike at 8 weeks.   Now that is a serious hiker.  I know that hiking is a great exercise but we also have to build up to those miles.  So start off by going for a walk.  Around the block, through the park, at the high school track, where ever you like.  Just start by taking the time to put on foot in front of the other.
Alt’s method is a simple three step plan:
  • Step OneDevelop a walking routine.  At least five days a week, take a hike around the neighborhood, park, beach, or nearby trail.
    • Make this a family or social event. Routines are easy to stick to when they are established and a walk with family and friends will get everyone away from the distracters of the indoors (TV, computer, etc.) and allow some bonding time with each other. Kids need to get up and move around more than ever with more and more time spent in front of the computer or on the couch playing video games.
    • Outfit everyone in comfortable walking shoes or trail shoes.
    • Be sure to wear the right clothing (NO cotton, dress in layers, and dress for the weather).
    • Save money and stop driving everywhere. If your like most of us we hop in the car when it is just a mile down the road to get what we need.  Walk to the grocery store. Walk to your local diner for dinner and back. Walk to the library.  Make walking and hiking as routine as brushing your teeth.
    • If you’re going for more than a walk around the neighborhood, bring along food and water. An adult needs at least two quarts of water per day. Pack enough snacks for everyone. I know that carrying water bottles in each hand also works as a lil arm weight.
    • Consult with experts (park rangers) and research (websites, local outfitters) before undertaking new parks & trails. Attend local slide shows or lectures (outfitters/libraries/bookstores) every chance you get.
    • Before you take a major hike you should brush up on safety precautions (first aid, signs & symptoms of hypothermia, how to use a compass, etc.). Keep matches and lighters dry and in a safe place. Know how to start a fire to keep warm.  If you do get lost, make yourself as visible as possible. Place a bright item (e.g. item of clothing or gear) in the open. Make distress signals and make noise. If you brought a cell phone, check periodically to see if it works. Leave a copy of your itinerary with a friend or family member.
  • Step Two: Keep it Fun!Scouts plan their hike on the Appalachian Trail.Image via Wikipedia
    • Let the youngest child or slowest walker lead. This helps you focus on what their interested in and will prevent you from leaving them in your dust.  If you are worried about them taking off and leaving you then hold their hand. 
    • Bring the outdoors inside. Take lots of pictures of the kids and places you go. Make posters for the family and for Christmas cards.  Get magazines, videos, and artwork of those places you want to go. Rent movies about faraway places. Use the Internet together to look at maps, and photographs of the wildlife, environments, and spectacular scenery you will be visiting someday.
    • Go high tech.  Bring on the gadgetry! Turn your computer game nerds on to the adventure technology. (e.g. GPS, pedometers headlamp flashlights, geocaching) and teach them all about how these incredible devices are being used for fun, like scavenger hiking in the Shenandoah & Great Smoky Mtn Ntl. Parks.
    • Take the kids to a local orienteering course and learn how to use GPS & compass together.
    • Use your local walks to train for a bigger adventure to a distant park.
    • Involve everyone in your family; especially the kids, in planning out all trips and adventures. Older children can use the computer to research your destination or sport.  (all national parks and most other destinations have websites chock full of facts & info., maps, wildlife).
    • Let the kids (especially teens) bring along a friend. Get permission from parents and make it a club adventure.
  • Step Three: Eat!
    • Use an online calorie intake and calories burned calculator to figure out how many calories you typically consume each day, then figure out the distance you would have to hike to burn those calories off. Any search engine will pull up lots of these calculators.
      • The pedometer and trail maps will help you determine if you’ve covered enough distance to burn the necessary calories.
    • Eat a daily healthy balanced meal. Including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Consult with a dietician for help. So, when you do go off the reservation and splurge on junk food, you have a normal eating routine to snap back to. 

1 comment:

  1. I think everybody should learn the basics of reading a map and a compass.


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