Hiking 101 - Tips for Beginners
Craving time outdoors? Hiking is a fun and exciting way to immerse yourself in nature – and it’s great exercise! There are many physical and mental health benefits of hiking including; increased mental clarity, stress reduction, improved muscle tone, and cardiovascular health. If you are new to hiking, read these Hiking 101 Tips to help you hit the trail with confidence!
Proper hydration is essential for a safe and enjoyable hike. When determining how much water to bring with you on the trail, make accommodations for the duration of the hike and weather conditions.
Solo hiking can be dangerous for many reasons. It’s best to have at least one buddy with you in the event someone is injured on the trail. Hiking in groups can make the journey more enjoyable and can help others achieve their fitness goals. If you insist on hiking alone, remember to tell someone where you are going and when you should return.
If you are a beginner hiker and looking to build up experience and perseverance to go on longer and more advanced hikes, it is beneficial to hike at least once or twice a week. This will help you build endurance as you gradually pursue longer, more difficult trails.
The number one hiking essential is comfortable shoes. Be sure to break in your hiking boots before committing to hike long distances. Some other essentials to pack include bandaids (just in case you get blisters), bug spray, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Depending on the duration of your hike, you may be tempted to bring along snacks like dried fruit or nuts. Remember, snacks attract wildlife! Depending on where you are hiking, it may be safer to leave treats at home.
When hiking in colder temperatures, be sure to wear layers. It’s always wise to throw a spare pair of socks in your hiking bag, just in case your feet get wet. In all weather conditions, plan to wear and pack sunscreen.
There are four main criteria to consider when choosing which trail to hike: time, length, elevation, and difficulty. Think about whether you plan to hike for a couple of hours or make it a day trip. Next, consider the distance of the trail you have in mind. On average, people hike about 3 miles per hour. If you are planning to pick a trail with a big elevation gain, it might take longer. Lastly, make sure you feel comfortable with the terrain you will be covering as some hikes are more difficult than others. You can use online resources to research the best trails, but make sure to hike with a printed map. Never rely on GPS when hiking, as cellular networks may be disrupted in remote areas.
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