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American Hiking Society Declares Focus On Health For National Trails Day
 
03/20/2002
The American Hiking Society (AHS) and famed mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer announced today that this year’s theme for National Trails Day – celebrated by millions of people across the country this June – will be Trails for Health. To help bring to life this theme, Weihenmayer is partnering with AHS to launch a campaign to discuss the benefits of hiking and to call for Americans to get outside this spring and use the nation’s more than 170,000 miles of trails.

The theme for National Trails Day was chosen to remind Americans that activities – such as hiking and walking – are great ways to enjoy the nation’s natural resources while also getting the exercise their doctors may recommend. Between now and June, outdoor enthusiasts can receive free information on U.S. hiking trails and hiking tips designed to help them enjoy the outdoors this spring.

“Spending time outside, whether I’m hiking or climbing, enables me to incorporate exercise into my life in a way I love. Through Trails for Health, I want to encourage people to enjoy the benefits of being outside," said Weihenmayer, the first blind mountain climber to scale five of the world’s seven tallest peaks, including Mt. Everest, and who is set to climb the last two later this year. “I also want people to know that a common condition that I suffer from – seasonal allergies or hay fever – does not have to stop them from enjoying the great outdoors."

Like Erik, many of the more than 35 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms find outdoor activities challenging, especially during the spring allergy season. But sufferers can enjoy the benefits of outdoor activity by being prepared for seasonal allergy symptoms before they start and knowing what seasonal allergy triggers may be on their hiking route.

“Seasonal allergy symptoms such as sneezing and itchy, watery eyes can be a major deterrent to enjoying the outdoors, especially in the spring," said William Silvers, M.D., a physician at the Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Clinic of Colorado and an avid outdoorsman. “The good news is that people who suffer can manage their seasonal allergy symptoms – even severe symptoms – with medications like Allegra® (fexofenadine HCl) 180 mg once daily, an antihistamine that helps manage symptoms without causing the drowsiness that can be associated with many other antihistamines."

National Trails Day evolved from the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors. In 1987, it recommended that all Americans be able to go out their front doors and within fifteen minutes be on trails that wind through their cities, towns or villages. The recommendation, dubbed Trails for All Americans, became the impetus behind American Hiking Society and others in launching the first National Trails Day in June 1993. Celebrated by one million trail enthusiasts, National Trails Day is on the first Saturday of June each year. Thousands of trail groups, local, state and national parks and forests, and elected officials support an estimated 3,000 events across the country.

“The theme, Trails for Health, underscores the health benefits of hiking and other outdoor recreational activities," said Mary Margaret Sloan, president of AHS. “Now that it’s officially spring, we challenge all Americans to get their free map and start preparing for National Trails Day."

To help families and individuals prepare for outdoor activities, the American Hiking Society is providing free information to the public. Outdoor enthusiasts can log on to www.AmericanHiking.org or call 1-800-607-5509 to receive hiking tips, information on National Trails Day events and seasonal allergy information for enjoying outdoor activities.

www.AmericanHiking.org



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