Take a hike!
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Keystone Trails Association are encouraging Pennsylvanians to embrace healthy lifestyles and their state's outdoors for Hiking Week 2009.
Beginning Saturday, May 23 and concluding Sunday, May, 31, participants are encouraged to engage in at least 100 hikes.
"You would burn more calories than you would on a treadmill because of the terrain," said Andrea Shene, of Warren General Hospital and Warren Area High School's athletic trainer.
Shene offered tips and precautions before hitting the trail, including that before engaging in any physical activity, one should check with their doctor.
One recommendation is the "proper shoeware" that offers more rigid support for the uneven terrain and a higher rise to support the ankles.
If traveling on a more remote trail, "take a first aid kit," said Shene.
Even along an area that is mainly shaded, it is important to stay hydrated. Shene suggested water or a drink containing electrolytes, which provide "mineral replacement."
Shene cautions to go with a group if possible and always "let people know where you are" and "make sure you stay where the trail is marked."
Since summer is just about here, choose your trail time wisely to avoid activity during high temperatures.
"During the heat of the day, don't go," Shene warned, adding that between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. would be the best times to avoid.
"Going early in the morning or evening would be best," she added.
Before hiking, make sure to eat a snack or carry extra food while on the trail.
Shene suggests granola bars, energy bars or fruit. Oranges help with electrolyte replacement, while the energy bars are more geared toward glucose and protein replenishment.
To protect your skin from sun damage, wear a sunblock with a sun protection factor of at least 30, said Shene.
She added that if you wear a hat, make sure it is not too tight around the head, "because you need to sweat."
If you do become overheated, and start to get heat exhaustion or muscle cramps, "stop and get some fluids and eat a snack," said Shene.
Heat exhaustion symptoms include weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting.
In the event of muscle cramps, Shene instructs to "get in the seated position and stretch it out."