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Why Should You Start Hiking?
There are numerous reasons why you may head out to your local woods or mountains all in the name of hiking. Here are a few reasons why it’s good for your health and general well-being.
- It will boost your mood
- You’ll spend time connecting to the beautiful nature
- It will give you the chance to enjoy a refreshing outdoor air
- You’ll have improved muscular fitness
- Hiking can help you reduce stress and anxiety
- You’ll explore new places
- It’ll improve your cardio-respiratory fitness
How to Get Started Hiking
You don’t have to be a road-tested nomad with an oversized backpack to enjoy a hiking adventure. With that in mind, here’s how to get started hiking.
Plan for the Hike
Preparing well for your hiking adventure will ensure that it not only becomes enjoyable but also a success. Part of that preparation is what you’re doing right now: reading this article! Another important part of the planning is setting out the date, knowing where you’ll be hiking, and having the required essentials in place for the adventure.
Planning for the hike means that you won’t be hiking on an impulse. Instead, you’ll know what is required and how to go about the adventure. Like any other part of life, hiking requires a good plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated; make it as simple as possible and you’ll be good to go.
Get Good Footwear
The right type of hiking shoes is arguably the most important gear that you’ll need to make your hiking adventure a success. You need to get the right shoes for your hiking trail. If you are going on a muddy trail, it’s advisable to go with waterproof hiking shoes with perfect grips. You do not want to slip now and then as this might lead to injuries. In essence, you should choose a pair of shoes that’s comfy and will prevent you from injuring your ankles. Put a lot of emphasis on the grip and ensure that they can give the extra support that you need when hiking.
You should also choose a good pair of socks that will allow your feet to breathe and have proper ventilation. A merino-wool pair of socks is the best way to go. When choosing your hiking boots and socks, it’s crucial to ensure that they fit perfectly and do not cause any pain.
Pick Your Hiking Location – Know Before You Go
It’s important to take time and do some little research before you go. Find out about the trails near you and pick out the right hiking location. The idea here is that you should know what to expect when on a hiking trail. Here are some of the things that you need to find out.
- Is the trail marked?
- Are there available maps for the trail?
- How to get there and how to get back home
- Are there amenities such as a toilet in the area?
- Are there fees for hiking at the trail?
- Are there opening and closing times at the trail?
Know Your Limits – Start Easy
How fits are you? Deciding how long you want to hike and knowing whether you can or cannot do it is quite important. That’s why you shouldn’t set out for a 20km hiking trail if you know you can’t make it. If you’re a beginner, you shouldn’t go for strenuous trails that will require you to carry extra clothes or even park a tent! Instead, you should choose a trail that you can perfectly cover in less than a day or within a day.
Although it can be tempting to pick a challenging trail, it’s always advisable to start with easy trails before working your way to more difficult ones. It’s also essential to choose a hiking trail based on how much time you have. All in all, do not go for incredibly strenuous hiking trails if you’re out of shape. Start slow, pick up places in your area before going for the bigger challenges.
Bring a Hiking Buddy or Find a Group
Hiking solo can be rewarding as it gives you the chance to spend some time alone and meditate. However, it can be dangerous should anything happen to you while you’re out there. That’s why we recommend that you bring a hiking buddy.
The wilderness can be so brutal. You’ll perhaps need a hiking buddy or group to keep you company and encourage you when it gets tough. Better still, having a hiking buddy can be crucial in case it goes wrong. Having a hiking buddy means that you’ll always have someone to offer help in case something bad happens.
Believe it or not, most hikers are a friendly bunch. You can look for a friend who loves getting outside and enjoying nature and start with him or her. No matter where you are, you’ll find an individual who loves hiking. Just go out there and find them!
Bring Lots of Water
This may seem pretty obvious but taking enough water while hiking is of great importance. Hiking can be a dehydrating activity, so you need enough water to fuel you. We often recommend at least 2 liters of water for hour, especially during the hot summer. In addition to water, bring with you some sun cream and a hat to protect your body and head from the sun.
You can also consider bringing with you some energy biting to keep you alive and energetic. Some snacks such as almonds, walnuts, apples, bananas, and biscuits will be great. Just make sure that it doesn’t add to the weight of your backpack.
Dress for the Weather
The weather can be quite unpredictable, but keeping a close eye can be of great help. You’ll not only know what to expect while on the trail but it will also help you choose and wear the right clothes. In addition to getting the right pair of hiking boots, you should wear light clothes when it’s warm and something warmer when it’s cold.
The general rule is to always avoid shorts while hiking. Instead, go for long trousers as this can help you in avoiding bug bites. You should also have a waterproof jacket just in case it starts raining.
Minimize Your Pack Weight
It’s always good to have an ultra-light backpack when hitting the hiking trail. Having a heavy backpack will put you at a disadvantage as it will limit your movement and will make the hike quite difficult. The best thing to do is to carry necessities only.
Let Somebody Know Where You’re Going
Whether you’ve decided to go it alone or take a buddy with you, it’s always good to let someone else know where you’re going. Take a moment and call a friend, a relative or even your neighbor. Let them know that you’re going hiking and when to expect you back.
Not all of us are fans of those dreadful and unfortunate stories of somebody disappearing for 150 hours in the wilderness and having to survive on their urine. If anything, we don’t want you to become a victim. So the best thing to do is let someone know where you’ll be hiking and when to expect you back so that they can take necessary action if anything bad, God forbid, happens to you.
Learn Some Hiking Etiquette
Like many parts of our lives, there is an etiquette that you need to observe while out there hiking. For instance, keep in mind that those going uphill have the right of way. Again, saying a simple “hello” when encountering other hikers doesn’t cause a thing. If you are listening to music while hiking, it’s advisable to use your headphones so as not to distract other hikers. You should also take your trash with you or dispose of it accordingly. All in all, you should always stay courteous, polite, and kind when out there hiking. If anything, you never know who might come to your help should anything go wrong.
To this end, hiking is a superb outdoor activity that allows you to explore the beauty of nature while keeping fit. When getting started with hiking, there are a few details to take into consideration to ensure that your hiking is quite fun and rewarding. Remember to start with easy trails before going to more difficult ones. Happy hiking!