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Do You Meet the New Exercise Standard?
By Melissa Allen
According to the most recent government survey conducted by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, Americans need to exercise at least an hour a day. This nearly doubles the previous recommendation.The study was published in a 1,000-page report that came out just a couple weeks ago.

For many people, this will mean a significant change in lifestyle in order to accommodate the additional exercise. Rather than focus on the various exercises you could do, or the little changes you can make in order to fit this seemingly undoable amount into your day, I'm going to talk to you about changing your way of thinking about exercise.

should be thought of as a way of life, or a lifestyle. It shouldn't be approached as something that you're going to do for a given period of time & then stop once you've reached your destination.
It's something that's ongoing, changing & growing. Once exercise becomes stagnant, you'll stop doing it. It's important to make it fun.
That may mean going to a gym for some, or joining a running club for others. Some people enjoy exercise more if they're doing it with a friend or loved one & some people prefer to do it alone. I guess what I'm suggesting is to first dedicate some thought to it & identify your strengths & weaknesses pertaining to exercise.
Analyze who you are & what aspects will intrigue you to exercise on a regular basis.
Some of the more unconventional methods include in-line skate clubs, dog walking groups, the Sierra Club, martial arts studios & bike clubs to name a few. With such diversity available now, there's no reason why everyone can't find at least one thing that's both healthy as well as interesting.

Like anything worth doing, you should first start with a plan & then progress from there. I, myself, have a certain core group of activities I plan to always do & that so far they have continued to stimulate me because they can be so different each time.
Bodybuilding & martial arts are two of them, but I also enjoy other activities that are either more seasonal like skiing, snowboarding & surfing (the latter I'm just learning), in addition to some sports that are just too expensive for me to do frequently, like scuba diving.

Freedom has always played an important role in my life & although I'm very disciplined during the week as far as bodybuilding, cardiovascular conditioning & martial arts, I allow myself much more freedom on weekends because I have more time then. I really enjoy hiking & mountain biking on Saturdays or Sundays.
Weekends also allow time for more of a commute to & from a preferred destination. One of my favorite things to do is get my friends together on a Sunday morning & go hiking up in the Laguna Mountains with my dog, followed by brunch. It's the perfect combination - I get to spend quality time with my friends & both myself as well as my dog gets a workout in the process. That just can't be beat!
So give exercise a fair shake before you jump to the conclusion that the new standard can't be done. From my own experience, I can honestly say that I love fitness & the feeling it gives me. It's definitely a lifestyle & I can't imagine my life without it!

slowly absorb the information....

Things to Be Aware of when Hiking
By Sue Taylor
Hiking is an outdoor activity, consisting of walking around and exploring the nature in areas of unspoiled wilderness, generally on trails. Hiking that takes place off trails is usually called cross country hiking, bushhacking or bushwalking.

Hiking & Other Touring

There are many other outdoor activities based on hiking. Hiking is often the only way to get to explore some wonderful places and possibly the best way to know nature. It is better than a tour in a car because you are not intruded upon by engine noise, windows or dust and you really get to see what's around you.

On the other hand, it also requires a proper physical training and knowledge, especially when done over difficult terrain or on long distances. You also need a backpack for food, water and equipment. Hikers are often caught in unsuitable weather and suffer mishaps. In some countries, they are required to pay in case they need a rescue.

Hiking & the Environment

Hikers often look for beautiful untouched environments to explore. These places are often very fragile and can accidentally be destroyed. Although one individual alone usually doesn't do much harm, the mass effect of a larger number of people is sometimes very harmful. For example, when a group of hikers gather wood to start a fire, they don't do much harm to the forest. However, when this happens for years and years, the area is stripped of important nutrients.
Protected areas usually have specific rules to protect the environment. If these rules are followed, the impact of hiking on the environment is significantly reduced. Such rules include forbidding camping outside especially designated areas, wood fires and imposing a certain number of hikers each day.
Some hikers share the philosophy of leaving no trace. This refers to hiking in such a way that future hikers won't even notice the presence of previous humans. Those who believe in this obey certain rules even when they are not imposed by a legal authority.

Human waste is an important source of negative impact on the environment. They can contaminate watersheds and harm other hikers who pass by. You can prevent bacterial contamination by digging catholes 4 to 10 inches deep into the ground and covering them after use. To minimize the risk, you have to dig them at least 200 feet away from trails and water sources.
Rare or endangered species are also an attraction for hikers. However, some of them are very sensitive to human presence, especially around or during mating season. Hikers should be aware of these habits to reduce the risk of harming endangered species.

One of the greatest risks associated with hiking is that of unintentionally starting a fire. This can be caused by an individual hiker as well and sometimes ends up by destroying large areas of woods. Following certain rules and setting up cooking devices can significantly reduce this risk.

Every outdoor activity includes certain risks, even if you're not doing anything to hurt yourself or the environment. Risks such as bodily injury, metabolic disturbances or just getting lost are always there. However, with proper precautions, hiking and other outdoor activities are a safe and enjoyable experience.

slowly absorb the information....

Think Again About Hiking...
kathleen howe
When I was a teenager, I lived in Plaistow, New Hampshire. New England is certainly a great place to go hiking. It just so happened my boyfriend was a hiker. Wanting to spend every waking moment with him, of course, I became a hiker as well!
My first mountain? Mount Washington, the highest mountain in New England! What teenage girls must consider before joining their boyfriend for hiking is, "What do you wear to go hiking?" I wore a simple pair of Keds with no socks to climb Mt. Washington. What a day that was for me! Well, it was quite a day for everyone, because the last part of the trip I was lame, of course, so someone had to hold me up on each side so I could finish the trip on my own two feet!
I'll never forget that Sunday morning waking up, my mother saying, "It's time to get up and go to church!" and I rolled over and said, "Over my dead body.... that just happens to by lying here right now!" I was sore for a week. And the funny thing is - that was when I was about 16 years old!

It's been a long time since those teenage years full of hiking all the mountains in New England. This July I'll have my 50th birthday, it seems impossible....
But if I could have anything for my birthday, I'd ask for the ability to be able to hike again, hike again in the mountains, that is. I had an injury, a serious one to my leg & unfortunately I can barely walk around the block now. But if you are able & if you live within driving distance of some mountains; hiking is the most wonderful challenge you'll take on.
Hiking was never easy for me, as it appeared to be for the rest of the gang I was hanging around with. They were all hikers, together for a number of years, and I was just beginning. I had to struggle, not being in tip top physical shape, to keep up with the others. Besides that fact, I was only 5 foot tall and everyone else towered over me. Long legs do make a difference!
And so, I was challenged each time I went hiking. I had to keep up, I had to make it, no one was going to let me sit and rest until the others made it back down to get me, I just HAD TO DO IT!!! It was a personal challenge.
I must say that I was always so thankful when we reached the top. I was thankful that I didn't quit. I was ever so "in awe" of the view from the top of a mountain. Looking out over the land, seeing how far you climbed, just the beauty of nature... it's something so beautiful & fulfilling it's difficult to describe.
I would have loved to know what I know now, about awareness, mindfulness - meditation & relaxation breathing - back then. What wonderful tools they would have been to use! I often write now, stories of being in the woods, climbing mountains, describing the feel of the breeze on my skin, the smell of the trees & the earth, the sounds of the forest - trying to identify earth's creatures & the taste of salt from an honest sweat. Oh what pleasure nature is to the eye!
It's a respite from cars, cities, noise, smog & chaos.

You can bring healthy & nutritious food with you & water. Hiking is far away from the pizza guy & the fast food drive thru! It's amazing how good trail mix tastes when you're out in nature, hiking and working up a real hunger. You know you're hungry when you've been hiking! And water never tasted so good!
That first climb, Mt. Washington, it was in the spring & Tuckerman's Ravine still had snow in it. Before I knew it the guys had me climbing between the melting snow and the ground on a narrow wet shelf... yes... with my white Keds and all! Who would ever experience something so challenging if they never got outside & challenged themself to it?
Sincerely, I ask you all, to take advantage of your health. Be so grateful to have the ability to hike that you learn as much as you can about hiking and try it out. It's so great! I miss New England so much. Living in Dayton, Ohio is certainly a far cry from New Hampshire!
It's a great sport, try hiking! It's a cheap date for singles or marrieds and what a wonderful gift to give your children, bringing them up hiking in nature! Teach them how to challenge themselves mentally & physically! You'll be practicing responsible parenting!

Hiking Tips
By David Stone
Mar 13, 2006

Here are a few tips that are essential to making a hiking trip successful and rewarding. It is important to remember that hiking is usually done away from civilization, so assistance is not at your disposal. This makes safety and planning an essential part of your hiking trip that should not be overlooked.

Mapping out your trip is the first and most important part of planning. This will be the foundation to build your itinerary and your supply list, especially if you are taking a long multi-day hike. It is good to stick to well traveled routes like the Appalachian Trail because they are easy to follow and there are many campsites along the way. When you choose a location to hike, do your research. Many trails have information online or you can call the local ranger station for more information about what to expect. Rangers also offer services that can make your trip easier and safer. Some rangers have stations that you can check in with along the trail, and if you do not check in they may be able to contact a relative to make sure that you are ok. You will also need a map to plan where you would like to stay each night. Make alternate routes that you can take if you would like to get off of the trail sooner than expected. Local towns often have buses than can run you to your destination for a fair price. If you are planning an extended hike for 5 days or longer, have a package mailed to a local post office along the trail at the halfway point. This will lighten the burden of carrying all the food you will require. Make sure to include an indulgence like candy or a favorite book to look forward to.

Planning for safety is easy, but is very strict. There is always room for a first aid kit and any medication that you may require. Plan for this. Also regular exercise before your trip is an important safety measure. Even if you are in great shape, you probably aren't walking on various terrains for six hours at a time. Take long walks in the morning or evening one - two weeks prior to hiking. Exhaustion is the most common and most preventable problem to have on a trail.

Now that you know what kid of trip you have ahead, you can pack accordingly. A backpack with a frame is a must. Overnight bags or messenger bags will not cut it. Framed backpacks come is two forms. Exterior frame packs offer more weight support and versatility, but are bulky. Interior frame packs, also called soft packs, offer more comfort and are more compact, and are a favorite among female hikers. The other equipment you will need to bring are a water purifier, multipurpose tool like a Leatherman or survival knife, canteen, sleeping bag, a pot, first aid kit, compass. There other items that make the hike easier, but these will get you along. There is a lot that nature can provide if you use some creative thinking. Kitchen utensils should also be included to your fancy. Clothing should be minimal to keep you comfortable. Undergarmets are important because you will be sweating more than usual and you don't want to a rash to set in. Socks and such with a polyester mix are the standard for hikers because they are light and they evaporate water or sweat very quickly. Wet socks can make you feet much more uncomfortable.

When it comes time to choose food, make sure it is something you will enjoy. Sporting goods stores carry dried meals for every taste. They are light and waterproof, so there is no need to worry about them. When there is a group, it is easier to distribute the weight of other foods such as canned items. Snacks are a staple food for hikers because they are light quickly eaten on short breaks. Trail mix and peanuts are high in energy and satisfy hunger with all natural fats.

Lastly, personal items should be kept to a minimum. Playing cards or small nerf balls are very light items that can be enjoyed by a small group. A long book is a great way for a solo hiker to occupy himself when resting. A favorite hiker past time is simply using what you have got by whittling a way at a good piece of wood with a pocket knife. The key to enjoyment during a hiking trip is to do something that you are not accustomed to doing. This will make your experience unique and may drive you to plan more trips.

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