For those seeking a break from the gym – a chance to get out into the elements in some of the purist air on Earth – experiencing the vast wildnerness of Lapland on foot is a great option!
The hiking trails of this region accessible to those of all levels of experience and fitness! With more than 75% of the region consisting of protected nature reserves and vast wilderness Lapland provides the perfect terrain for walking during the colourful and warmer summer months.
But why hiking?
There are many health benefits in doing a lower impact exercise – especially in such a pure environment. Here's 5:
- Low Impact – even though hiking can be a tough workout it remains low impact on the limbs – this makes it good for people that suffer any kind of joint/ bone or repetitive injury strains!
- Rehabilitation – minimal stress on the limbs and continuous movement by the legs helps strengthen the muscles and help to gradually repair injuries.
- Toning – hiking is a great toning workout for the lower body in particular – legs will become stronger over time – especially if hiking in an area with fells and elevations!
- Heart and blood – the movement associated with hiking helps dilate the arteries and therefore reduce blood pressure and take some of the strain of the heart. It can also help to increase levels of “HDL” (good cholesterol) with its heart protecting properties.
- Mental Clarity – regular exercise is proven to be incredibly good for the soul and mind by stimulating the production of endorphins which promote a feeling of well-being.
The famous Hetta-Pallas hiking path, one of the most popular destinations in the area, leads over fells and through valleys that give way to breath-taking elevated views of the National Parks. The best time for hiking the trail starts in May-June and runs through to the onset of winter in mid-October.
But what if you are a hiking beginner?
Do not worry – there are hiking specialists all over Lapland who will provide journey planning and advice before you set out – however, there is a basic package of essential items that you may want to invest in before you head off on your trip!
- A map and compass – maps are essential in the remote wildernesses of Lapland but bear in mind that you will be following well documented trails – even local stores and petrol stations will sell hiking trail maps – and provided you do not stray off the beaten path you should be fine. However, a compass is a great tool to get to grips and a basic compass alone can help an individual find his way to safety, by allowing him to maintain a consistent direction of travel.
- Flashlight – protect against physical injury when traveling in the dark – even in the summer months during the “Midnight Sun” season! A flashlight is also useful for finding things in the pack, observing wildlife in dark crevices and folds, and for distant signaling. Extra batteries and bulbs are highly recommended. Lamps using LEDs have become very popular, due to their robustness and low power consumption.
- Extra food and water – can prevent or cure hypothermia and dehydration, common illnesses that can be serious risks in the wilderness where immediate medical response is not possible. These items also minimize the likelihood of panic.
- Extra clothes protect against hypothermia. Multiple layers of clothes are generally warmer than a single thick garment. By having the ability to simply take off a layer of clothes, one can avoid overheating, which can cause sweat and dampen clothing. Moreover, a change into dry clothes is the fastest way to become warm. Extra clothing is also useful for protection from the elements, including thorns, insects, sun, wind, and often cold.
- A first aid kit usually contains items to treat cuts, abrasions (blisters), punctures and burns.
- Matches (or a lighter) and fire starter (typically chemical heat tabs, canned heat, or magnesium stick to light a campfire is useful for cooking and to signal for aid if necessary.
In Lapland National there are many hiking areas are areas intended for hiking and other recreational activities in the outdoors. The areas are provided with hiking structures, such as marked trails, campfire sites, lean-to shelters and open wilderness huts. These areas are very suitable for both shorter day trips and longer hikes.
So, whatever level of experience you are at this cost-effective workout is a great way to plan your holidays around the outdoors and an opportunity to witness spectacular scenes and improve your health at the same time!