Hiking over the holidays is a surefire way to preserve your sanity. Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness. During the holidays, we all are likely to experience family drama, travel, too much food, and too little sleep. Any combination of these factors is a recipe for crankiness.
Stepping away from the television blaring A Christmas Story for the millionth time, you’ll feel a lot better if you step away from the couch and take a stroll outside. Challenge your family members to join you and see how many miles you can hike over the holiday season. #hikingovertheholidays
Invite the family and get everyone out of the house. The Hiking Over the Holidays Challenge is a great way to create memories while also getting some exercise and fresh air. The kids can burn off pent-up energy while the adults can have an unmonitored conversation and get in some exercise.
By hiking over the holiday season, you can also burn off some calories. It is near impossible not to overindulge when there are so many delicious choices of food and drink.
According to this chart, hiking burns between 170-252 calories per 30 minutes. A more strenuous hike will burn even more calories. Keeping the calorie burn to the low end of 170 per half hour and a slice of pumpkin pie at about 323 calories, in an hour, you could negate that slice of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg (OMG – I was pie now!) goodness.
However, I don’t recommend hiking with a pie. Or – do I?
And, before you come at me that calories don’t work like that – well, they should.
Hiking Over the Holidays Comfort
To get the most out of your Hiking Over the Holidays Challenge (#hikingovertheholidays) to get the most out of your hike, dress in layers. That way, as you hike and get warmer, you can start peeling off layers rather than being all sweaty and gross.
A good pair of boots and socks will help keep your wee little feet warm. If you are GenX, it’s okay to buy nice socks, you don’t have to wear bread bags anymore!
My hands always get cold and achy, so I love me some insulated gloves or, better still, glove/mittens — glov-ittens? Plus, there are these rechargeable hand warmers which are fantastic.
Watching TikTok has taught me all sorts of tricks to keep my hands warmer, including swinging my arms in big circles to force the blood into my hands. Yes, you will look like you are trying to play airplane, but I have found that it does help keep my fingers a bit more mobile.
Finding a Trail for Hiking Over the Holidays Challenge
Finding a trail near you is easy – click here to get started.
My publisher has a series of hiking books, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles, that are curated hiking guides complete with trail descriptions, maps, and elevation profiles that make it easy to choose the right trail for your group.
If you live near the Cincinnati area, sign up for my email list, and I’ll send you a free hike from my book 60 Hikes within 60 Miles Cincinnati.
Hiking Over the Holidays with Kids
Hiking with kids can be rewarding and challenging. I recommend not doing any hikes with a cliff – it is too much stress. There are plenty of hikes that are relatively easy to do but will wear out the kids.
When hiking with kids over the Hiking Over the Holidays Challenge, look for trails that don’t have a lot of steep hills. Hiking on a trail through a meadow or woodland helps build your child’s confidence, especially if you have them lead the hike.
To keep kids even more involved in hiking, have a scavenger hunt. I’ve included a downloadable scavenger hunt for you.
By focusing on the small things, it is easier to stay in the present moment. The small things like a feather, pinecone, or oak leaf are wonders of their own. Celebreate those mini wonders!
What To Bring For Your Hike
Water even when it is cold outside, your body still needs water. Staying hydrated makes the hike more enjoyable, and you are able to make better decisions.
Bring along snacks. Seriously, trail snacks are the best. Make some trail mix to bring along and share at the midpoint of the hike.
Etiquette for Group Hikes
For casual hikers hiking in groups, there is a basic trail etiquette that is often overlooked or ignored. The slowest person sets the pace for the hike.
If you are hiking with other people, there is likely to be the last person. The one who is trailing behind for one reason or another – most likely it is a physical limitation.
When hiking with others, the hiking speed should only be as fast as the slowest person can hike. When at a resting point, the break isn’t over until the slowest or last person is ready to continue hiking.
My pet peeve is a group that has left one person trailing behind. The person is trying their hardest to keep up. Then the group decides to take a break, and the moment the person arrives, the group, who now has had a chance to recharge gets up and starts hiking again. The slowest person never gets a break and is struggling even harder to keep up.
This is called a slinky hike, and it is cruel and inconsiderate. If you are going to casually hike with a group, be aware not everyone can hike at the same speed. As a casual group hike, the group should respect each other’s abilities and hike together.
Hiking Over The Holidays Challenge Awards?
Yes! You get to give yourself a hearty pat on the back! Getting outdoors and spending time in nature is a solid way to improve not only your physical health but also your mental health.
Hiking, nature, and time with the people you love is a simple way to enjoy the holidays without a lot of stress.