Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hiking in the summer = swimming!

Ithaca New York, had one of the hottest summers a few years ago.  The heat made it hard to continue hiking. When I wasn't hiking that summer, I was swimming!  My favorite place to swim is the 2nd dam.  There are a few spots to swim at the bottom and a few swim holes at the top.  Almost every time I swim at 2nd dam I see people jumping off of the cliff.  This is extremely dangerous because the swim hole deep enough to land in is very small.  If someone missed the small swim hole after jumping they would hurt themselves very badly or possibly die.  There are signs posted that forbid cliff jumping and swimming, but they are often ignored.  As the warmer months approach, people will begin swimming and cliff jumping again.  

Sometimes after walking around Cass Park, we go swimming at the public pool there.  It is much safer than 2nd dam because there are always lifeguards on duty and the depth of the water is clearly marked.  Where do you swim when it's hot in Ithaca?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Get Fit for Hiking

Around this time of year, I begin getting into shape for hiking that starts in the spring.  When hiking off trails on rocks, steep paths and wet terrane it is important that I am able to balance myself.  Depending on how long I plan on hiking for, I work on my endurance so I am able to keep going for as long as I can.  Sometimes hiking around Ithaca involves climbing over obstacles, jumping from rock to rock and running (in case of bees - haha)  A few exercises I do gear up for hiking are listed below:

How I work on Balancing: 3 days a week
~ Exercise Ball - I do ball circles, seated march and ball walks 
~ Balance Disks - I do squats while balancing on 2 disks
~ Wobble Board - I try to stay balanced for 10 seconds at a time. I add 5 seconds every week

How I work on Endurance: 4 days a week
~ I jog for a half hour start Jan 1st
~ I jog for 15 mins - run for 15 mins - jog for another 15 mins (total 45 mins) start Feb 1st
~ I run for 15 mins - jog for 15 mins - run for 15 mins (total 45 mins) start March 1st
~ I run for 20 mins - jog for 10 mins - run for 20 mins (total 50 mins) start April 1st
~ I run for a full hour start May 1st

The exercises mentioned above are a great way 
to stay fit even if you don't plan to hike in the spring.  I added links to pictures in the balance exercises above.  The pictures describe the exercises better than I can explain.   

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hiking Safety

Hiking is fun and great exercise, but it can be dangerous if not taken seriously.  My husband and I went hiking at Treman State Park last June.  We decided to hike the Gorge Trail because it follows the edge of the gorge - great for picture taking.  After walking for about a half hour, we stopped for a short break. While I was taking pictures, Brad was stung by a bee.  Unfortunately, he is highly allergic to bee stings.  Luckily we got back to the car in time so he could administer an epinephrine shot.  I can't stress enough how important it is to be safe when hiking.  We should have been hiking an epinephrine shot in our backpack.  

I listed a few tips I find helpful when hiking around Ithaca in the summer. 
~If you are hiking in a new area, make sure you hike 
during daylight and with a map.
~Pack a backpack with medical supplies (in our case an epinephrine shot), water and healthy snacks.  
~Make sure you hike with water and not sugar drinks
like soda and juice.  
~You should drink 1/2 to 1 cup of water every 30 - 45
~Depending on how long you decide to hike - pack 
healthy snacks like dried fruit, nuts and veggies.
~Wear layers of clothing so you are able to adjust to 
spikes and drops in temperature.

Learn more about responsible hiking at tread lightly

For more safety hiking tips visit the Hiking Dude

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hiking in Ithaca, NY

Hiking in Ithaca is exhilarating and accompanied by amazing scenery.  Summer 2008 holds a special place in my heart.  My husband and I adopted our puppy Max from the SPCA and enjoyed many walks and hikes before the cold weather set in.

For the summer months, we walked Max at Cass and Stewart Park.  He was too small to climb rocks and steps for any length of time at Buttermilk Falls or The Robert H. Treman Park.  Once fall began, Max was a little bigger and able to handle longer walks and even learned how to climb the stairs in our home.  We tested his skills at Taughannock Falls.  We walked around the edge of the lake for a while and also threw the Frisbee around with him.  After a replenishing picnic, we walked up a trail.  Max made it half way up before he stopped and needed a puppy nap.  He did great for his first hiking adventure.  We look forward to summer 2009!  Max will be bigger and stronger for even longer walks and hikes. 

Hiking is one of my favorite things to do for exercise.  It gets my heart rate up and strengthens my muscles a great deal.  One of the most challenging hikes for me is located at Robert H. Treman Park.  There are many trails you can travel in this beautiful park, but I believe the best workout is the Rim Trail.  It looks like a staircase made of rock. The steps eventually climb higher than the tall trees in the park. When I reach the top of this stone staircase, I feel like I have reached the top of the world.  This hike is a rigorous workout!

Hiking is a huge stress reliever.  It clears my mind and allows me to take my frustrations out by climbing or running up and down trails.  Hiking and walking can help reduce stress and increase endorphins that aide in changing my state of mind. 

Hiking is a great full body workout.  It works the upper and lower legs, hips and butt, abs, shoulders and neck.  Hiking is a fabulous way to lose weight and stay fit.  Not only does it burn calories, but it helps build muscle too! 

Happy Hiking Friends!