Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hiking while sick

Do you still hike when you are sick?  I sure do.  As soon as I can drag myself out of bed, I head for a local trail.  There are some physical health benefits of exercise for a mild cold, but the biggest benefit for me is the mental boost.  Being stuck at home gets me down and depressed, and the only cure I know is some time outdoors and a little activity to give me a mental pick-me-up.  
Being near water always makes me feel better.
Sandy Creek Nature Center, just north of Athens, GA in Clarke County, has 4 miles of easy, interconnected trails, and is my usual destination when I'm too sick to go backpacking in the mountains.  I really like the Levee Trail that goes out to the confluence of the Sandy Creek and North Oconee River.  Boardwalks cross wet areas in the floodplains, but expect mud after rains.  Early morning is the best time to avoid runners and dogwalkers, and, as a bonus, the early morning light reflects off the water.
In the early 1900's, the Georgia Brick Company dredged clay from this site for bricks, creating this pond.
Tips for hiking when feeling under the weather:

    -Stay close to home.
    -Take it easy.  Keep your pulse rate down, your pack light, and your pace slow enough so you don't sweat.  Strenuous exercise can stress your body and prolongs recovery.
    -Stay hydrated and snack often.  Listen to your body. 
    -Rest often.  Find benches or fallen trees and lay down.  Or bring your hammock.  Watch birds and clouds, or take a nap.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes a short stint outside will make me feel better, especially if there's a little 'blues' mixed in with the illness.