2020 has been a challenging year for so many of us. Cities in lockdown, everyone working virtually or losing their jobs in the service industries, social distancing and mask wearing in public, Covid-19 has pushed everyone to their limits. But the human spirit is resilient and able to weather any storm and obstacles force us to take different paths in life. Its turning lemons into lemonade. One of the surprising positives the world pandemic has brought about is a surge in the popularity of running and hiking. It gets you out of the house and into the great outdoors!
Me personally have always loved running and I've noticed since the start of the pandemic Liberty State Park is chock full of runners now whereas before I would pass a handful of runners I am now challenged to keep 6 feet away from all the runners in the park. On weekends instead of going to brunch and drinking bloody mary's and noshing on french toast with maple syrup and sausages, I find myself opting to go for a hike. I get fresh air, I am socially distanced from people. Monica a sales manager from the Orvis outlet store in Manchester, Vermont said, "I have never in my life seen so many people hiking these days. The trails are packed from dusk til dawn." Who knew the pandemic would spur everyone's inner outdoorsman?
We can only binge watch Netflix series for so long. Running and hiking gets you out of the self quarantine and outdoors. We can run or hike any time of day and we can do it alone. Besides getting fitted for the right pair of running shoes, here are a few things I bet you never thought about before you hit the great outdoors!
Before we run or hike, hydration is so important. Maintaining good hydration before you hit the great outdoors is key for health and performance. Water regulates our body temperature, removes waste, helps bring energy to our cells and cushions our joints. Adequate hydration can improve recovery, minimize injury and cramping, and maximize performance as a runner and make it easier to handle the long hikes.
They say 75% of all Americas are dehydrated. Are you having trouble remembering to hydrate? No worries, Hidrate Spark makes a smart water bottle that makes it cool and fun for you to develop good habits. What? Yeah you heard me right it's a smart water bottle that connects via bluetooth to your phone and determines how much water you need to drink each day based on your age, height, weight, where you live and your activity level. The bottles glows in a pattern of your choice to remind you to drink water and the app helps you track your water intake throughout day, week or month. Who knew you could make drinking water regularly a fun activity?
Your water bottle isn't the only fun smart thing that can help you before you hit the great outdoors, Mandy Matchette from the awesome global running group, Run Like a Girl, highly recommends, Blue Lizard Sunscreen, which comes in a smart bottle that turns from white to blue when it is exposed to harmful UV light. It's a great reminder to put sunscreen on before you go outside. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and is on the rise. Since limiting exposure to the sun is not an option for runners and hikers, its best to be proactive and put your sunscreen on before you leave your house.
When you are running and hiking your face isn't the only thing that may turn red on your body. The constant rubbing together of parts of your body causes friction and chafing and a burning sensation and redness when you are running or hiking. There are a few ways chafing occurs. One is skin-on-skin rubbing like on your thighs or underarms. The other one is fabric-on-skin rubbing thats when your shirt, sports bra, or shorts lining aggravate the skin. To prevent this you need some sort of anti chafing product like Skin-slick. It was originally made to help triathletes cycle hundreds of miles and run a marathon and swim for miles in one day. Skin-slick acts as an invisible barrier between you and what is rubbing you raw. Its water and sweat resistant and it stays on the skin for hours. Put Skin-slick on problem areas that are prone to chafe or blister.
Speaking of blisters, any new runner or over zealous hiker can be prone to blisters on their feet. One of the causes can be the wrong socks. Specialized socks for runners is a must! Brands like Steigan or Balega come highly recommended by avid runners like Oceana Faria. These sports performance socks actually have a no blister guarantee and designed to make it feel like you are not wearing socks at all.
A good running belt, a vest or pockets in your leggings is a must when you hit the great outdoors. We all need a place to stash our keys, money. Running belts like E-tronic and Flipbelt are all great options and some have places for you to carry a small water bottle too.
Let's face it jogging was made for social distancing. You can do it alone and you can get outside and improve your cardiovascular health, relieve anxiety, depression and stress during these trying times. Another bonus is aerobic activity increases the levels of cortisol in your body, which helps to boost information retention and memorization capabilities, so it will actually helps you become smarter too. So what are you waiting open your front door and get out to the great outdoors.