Hiking is widely recognized as a great form of exercise, but firming up her quads and doing some cardio are not the primary reasons.
Whether you are looking for that connection to nature, or you need a pleasant, inexpensive way to shape up, autumn is an ideal time to take a hike. In most areas of North America, the temperatures are cooler; there are also fewer vacationers venturing out on the trails.
"In autumn, trails are beautiful, especially in those parts of the country that are well-known for foliage,” says Karen Berger, author of Backpacking & Hiking (2005). “If you go on a foliage tour in a car, you’re driving and not paying attention,” Berger says. “But if you hike, you’re taking in a universe that’s completely quiet, and at a slow pace [to appreciate the surroundings].”
You can also choose hiking destinations with other natural wonders, including waterfalls and mountaintops. But let’s face it. While beautiful and serene, hiking is still exercise and you need to be prepared for its rigors. “With a good guidebook for your area, almost anyone can begin with short, easy hikes that require no special equipment other than a sturdy pair of shoes,” says Sheri McGregor, author of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles(San Diego).
Finding good footwear is essential.
Today, the list includes mountaineering, heavyweight, mid-weight, lightweight, and trail shoes, plus hiking sandals and athletic shoes. “It would seem that the best way to choose footwear would be to logically deduce what your particular needs are,” says Sherman. “Here’s a rule of thumb: the more weight you will carry or the rougher the terrain, the sturdier your footwear must be.”
To be continued.....