If you like to spend time outdoors in the natural world, one of the best ways to do so is to go walking. As an outdoor pursuit, few things are as engaging, exciting and invigorating as walking in nature. It is something that just about anyone can take up at any time – modify as needed – a walk could just as easily be a roll. It is also very good for your health, mental, emotional, and, of course, physical. If you are thinking of starting to walk in nature more, there are some things that you will want to take into consideration.
If you will be walking a lot, and particularly over varied terrain, then you’ll need the appropriate footwear to do so. That means treating yourself to a really good pair of boots. To find a great pair of walking boots, it might be best to go to a specialized outdoorsy company, as they are generally going to offer the widest selection for the kind of boots that you need. In some cases, you will probably also want some long handle shoehorns to be able to get them on, so keep your eye out for that too when you are shopping for boots.
Be prepared for all kinds of weather, too. To be safer when walking on possible snowy, muddy, or icy terrain, get some ice cleats or crampons. These come in sizes for children and adults. They fit snug around your hiking boots and offer much better traction than boots alone. Walking sticks will also go a long way to making it easier to walk no matter the terrain or time of year.
Start Somewhere Local
Before you start trekking all over the place, it’s best to start somewhere local and simply go on a few small nature walks near your home. Worst case scenario: you get lost but you know that you are not far from home, so it’s not as much of a concern. You will probably also already know the area somewhat, so you just won’t have to worry as much anyway. This will give you a great chance to practice your walking, so it’s definitely a good idea for that reason. We have some great state parks nearby with many different levels of trails. From easy and paved to more rugged. They are also well marked, so as long as you stay on the trail you should do well.
Trek With A Friend
There are many good reasons why you might want to go trekking with another person. Probably the best reason is safety. If something should happen while you are in the middle of nowhere, it is best if there is someone else there. They might be able to call for help, or otherwise assist you should you be injured, for example. Even if you feel that ultimately you would like to go walking alone, for now you might want to consider trekking with a friend.
Trekking with your children is another option. If you have wanted to incorporate nature studies into your homeschool but don’t feel equipped to do journals or be artistic, just get started with nature walks. Simply being in nature and observing how things change throughout the year is amazing. The Vitamin D, fresh air, and physical exercise are a benefit no matter the age. Fight Nature Deficit Disorder!
Learn To Map Read
It is enormously important that you know how to read a map and navigate your way around. There is a tendency these days for people to think that because they have a smartphone, they don’t need to worry about map-reading. But there is always the chance your phone will lose charge, or that you will lose it altogether, or that you can’t get a good signal, and in those instances the ability to read a map will be very useful indeed. Besides, it’s just nice to know that you are able to do it – it is a skill all should have.
Our nature walks, with and without children, are my favorite part of our week. Even if your only green space is a nearby city park, just get outside. Time in nature combats depression, boosts your immune system, and even helps you to focus when you have to return inside. Start small if you must, be safe, but most importantly, just get out there!