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3 Useful Hiking & Backpacking Tips

3 Useful Hiking & Backpacking Tips

If you’re a fan of nature and the great outdoors, chances are you’ve probably done some hiking, trekking, and/or backpacking at some point. The reality is that, despite the threat of global warming and the ever-changing landscape of the earth, more and more people are interested in outdoor pursuits in which technology and the ‘always on’ culture is almost completely forgotten about.

Although high in physical exertions, hiking can be a relaxing activity where you explore the great outdoors through footpaths, hills, country lanes, forests, fields, and more. The spirit of hiking lies in being able to bring people to the natural environment, and to know the heritage and reserves through the use of trails.

It’s a pursuit that is good for both the mind and the soul, alongside being good for the pocket, while opening ourselves up to new experiences, memories, and situations in which our adventurous spirits can feel free and plentiful. So, if you are that kind of person, here are some useful tips you must know before your next adventure.

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1. Choose the adequate travel partners or group

Have you heard the quote, “If you really want to get to know a person, you must travel together…?” Well, this couldn’t be truer. If you are traveling for an extended period of time, or in close proximity with someone, you get to know the good, bad, and the ugly of someone’s personality. While you don’t always have the luxury of choosing your travel partners, if you can, try to invite good friends you are comfortable with, or at least companions you know.

2. Select the right clothing and essentials

If you are a novice hiker, you may not be aware of what the essentials are, so it’s always best consult with someone who does or who can point you in the right direction. There are plenty of guides online that will give you the foundations and more.

When it comes to clothing, wear things that are predominantly made of synthetic materials that keep you dry as you start to work harder and sweat more. If you prefer to use pants (which is the most recommendable option), it should be made of durable, quick-drying fabrics such as spandex or nylon; that way, your legs will be protected from some of the hazards, and will keep you warmer when the temperature drops at night or in more extreme conditions.

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Making sure that you have boots that are durable, comfortable, and appropriate for those kind of conditions (like waterproof materials for example) is an absolute MUST! Remember that wearing the wrong boots or shoes could leave your feet aching and give you serious injuries. It can be surprising just how many ligaments and muscles there are in our feet that are susceptible to injury in the wrong shoes.

Something that can definitely help when leaning more towards hardcore trekking is a hiking stick or pole. When you use them, your upper body shares part of the workload of hiking, which also provides exercise to your forearms, arms, shoulders, and chest for a true whole-body workout.

To complement the clothing, there are some backpacking essentials that will keep you on the right path whatever the conditions:

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  • Navigation (map and compass).
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • A headlamp or a flashlight.
  • First-aid kit or supplies (pills, bands, rubbing alcohol).
  • Hydration and nutrition.

There are statistics surrounding people getting lost without being fully prepared, so it’s always better to prepare for the worst than just hoping for the best.

3. Know your destination

Essential to your plans is researching and understanding location, the weather, and terrain before you leave; if you want to add that extra layer of security, you should also invest in intermediate gear. Hiking and backpacking should be enjoyable, but you should also be prepared and aware of everything.

As with many other sports and activities, hiking has different difficulty levels: The low difficulty can be a one-day hike on level ground. A medium difficulty hike that might include spending a night camping, having some steep slopes, and carrying a more loaded backpack. A high difficulty hike may require prior experience, as well as carrying a tent, sleeping bag, heater, high calorie foods, and even being accompanied by an experienced guide.

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You also need to remember that when you are out embracing nature, you should always ensure that you do as little as possible to disturb the environment or ecosystem that you are sharing on your trip, and leave the location as you found it, something championed by the Leave No Trace initiative.

When you plan your trip, check out the options for tours and guides, like Big Wild Adventures who offer Yellowstone backpacking tours in an environment that is not to be taken for granted with its difficulty and danger, but also its natural beauty.

The important thing here is that you need to make this experience something exciting that invites you to come back and do it again. There are a large number of trekking and hiking federations and groups who organize mountain activities and walks all around the world. These activities are regulated by a series of safety standards, environmental protection rules, and professionalism, and their goal is to let you enjoy your life plentifully discovering almost every place in the planet.

Featured photo credit: backpacker.com via media.backpacker.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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