If you are looking for an active way to get fit that isn’t too expensive, then hiking is a superb choice. All around the world people love nothing more than to get out in the great outdoors for some wholesome fun. Hiking is fantastic for so many reasons, not least for the health benefits gained from every walk that will keep your body in tip-top shape. You just can’t beat getting out in the fresh air and it’s certainly better than being stuck indoors all day!
If you are new to hiking, then read on for some great essential tips to know before heading out on your first journey.
Get the right gear
One of the best tips for hiking is to prepare thoroughly before even stepping out of your front door! Getting the correct equipment for the hike with is critical as this will keep you safe and help to prevent injury. It will also make the whole experience more comfortable and enjoyable for you.
Footwear is one of the first things to think about as, obviously, you’re going to be on your feet a lot. Investing in a sturdy pair of well-fitted hiking boots is a must – take the time to find a pair that feels good, are waterproof, and have great ankle support. On your list of key equipment, you should also have a durable backpack, a good quality water bottle, a compass, a map of the area you will be hiking in, and the right clothing to hike – remember to wear layers to cater for all temperatures!
Avoid aches and pains
Although hiking involves exercise, it’s supposed to be an enjoyable pursuit that should not cause undue pain. Many hikers will use special clothing while walking to help keep any aches at bay. Not only is this great during the hike but it will also keep you feeling good in the following days. Copper is a popular material used in specialist garments including copper socks. Wearing copper socks while hiking will support your Achilles heel, feet, and legs, and will help keep you in peak condition.
As noted above, you will need a good quality water bottle to carry on your hike. There are many different options here, from traditional bottles to flexible pouches or water reservoirs. Choose the one that is best suited to your personal taste and make sure to fill it up before you leave! Keeping your water levels topped up is very important when hiking, as you can easily become dehydrated, even in cold or temperate weather.
Learn how to read a map
It may seem a lost art in the modern world of GPS trackers and other satellite devices, but learning to read a map is still a sensible skill to learn. After all, you might lose your phone or tracker on your walk or be in an area without a signal. If this happens, and you make a wrong turn, being able to read the map you have with you is vital. As well as basic map reading, learning how to use your compass is a necessary skill that could just save you from a tricky situation.
Build up distances gradually
Once you have decided to start hiking, it is natural to get excited and want to stride off on your march. Rather than going straight into a coast-to-coast walk, however, it is best to begin with smaller, more sensible targets. Try out the local walks in your area to build up your stamina and get used to the physical demands of hiking.
Learn the onion layering system
One area aspect of hiking that you may find confusing at first is the amount of clothing to wear. Too much and you will overheat, but too little and you’ll be exposed to the cold. If you are finding this complicated, then consider the onion layering system that many expert hikers use.
The general idea is that you layer different pieces of clothing to keep you warm but not too warm. Of course, as you add layers, you can always take one off if you get too hot or put it back on if you start to get cold.
Many hikers will start their walk by wearing a base and mid-layer and will then add more layers, such as top-layer or coat, as you walk further along your trail. This is the best way to use the onion layering system to stay healthy and warm.
Hiking is a superb way to enjoy yourself
There’s no doubt that hiking is one of the most fun and accessible ways to stay in the best health. Not only that but it’s just so enjoyable and allows you to see more of the great outdoors. Most hikers will also get to know each other as you see the same people on the trails, making it a superb social activity. If you are new to hiking, then just follow these essential tips and watch as you become an expert in no time at all.