Top tips for beginner hikers

By Doug Williams
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Top tips for beginner hikers

Doug Williams
 
 
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Hiking is a fantastic activity. Not only can it be very refreshing to get outside and immerse yourself in nature, experience of the elements, and the views that many hikes bring, but it can also be an excellent way to work out.

When summer is approaching fast, that, for many, is the signal the time has come to get into shape. Hiking could be the perfect activity to remove some of your everyday stress, while also removing some of that excess weight that built you gained over the winter, too.

Enjoying the view
Enjoying the view

Now, when you think about hiking, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is a bunch of weary looking travelers who have fairly large packs on their backs, hiking across mountains for a long period of time. If you are out of shape, such a thought can be extremely overwhelming.

The thing is, that is not what hiking needs to be at all. Hiking is so much more than the extreme hiking stories that you see in movies. You can go hiking in many places not very far from your own home. Many times people go hiking in their local parks or neighborhood, which just takes a few hours a week.

This is an amazing way to explore your town or your local community that’s all around you, while also breaking a sweat and getting in a great workout. This can be a great way for you to get into good enough shape in order to start off hiking proper, then perhaps move into running as time goes on. Here are some tips that you can keep in mind when thinking of starting to hike as a beginner.

Timeframe

You should first decide just how long it is that you want to hike. For many people who are just starting out, they don’t need to go on hikes that take longer than a few hours, and certainly do not want to do a hike that requires the use of a tent.  You need to find out how much time you have in your schedule to complete a hike so that it is not too overwhelming or time-consuming, which would probably dissuade you from hiking again.

Companions

The next thing you should decide on is whether you want to go hiking alone or with a group of friends. Some people prefer to go hiking alone, as they view this as a time to reflect and fully enjoy themselves. A deciding factor is whether or not you will feel safe hiking all by yourself. When you go with a group of people there is that safety element built in. If anything were to happen, someone could be able to get help from the other people that were in the hiking group.

Your abilities

On the top!
On the top!

Next you should determine, before hitting the hiking trail, what your starting level is. If you are in terrible shape and have never been hiking before, then this is something that you should definitely keep in mind. You are not going to want to pick a hike that is out of your skill range and leaves you feeling worse when you finally finish the hike.

You should start off relatively slow and pick a trail that is suitable for your fitness level and choose the pace that you want to take, taking into account the time that you have allotted for the hike.

Location

The next thing to think about is certainly an obvious one: pick the location where you want to go hiking. You can look up hiking trails on the internet, or you can ask a friend who can give you some advice on where to go so that you have the best time. If there is a parks department or a golf club near you, you can often ask the people who work there, since they will have a good knowledge of the hiking conditions and the best trails available in the area.

Tell people

Hiking with friends
Hiking with friends

Once you actually start out on the hike, it is important that you should let another person know exactly where you are going. There have been many stories where hikers have gone out into the wilderness and have not made it back because they did not let others know where they would be. Even if people recognized their absence, they had no idea where to look for them.

Gear

Another very important aspect of hiking is finding the proper attire to wear. You are going to want to get sturdy hiking boots appropriate for the intensity of the trail that you will be taking. The reason for this is that regular sneakers will often not have enough traction, and you can leave yourself more susceptible to injury due to not having the right amount of support. You should also be sure to wear pants because there’s likely to be things that cause a reaction on bare legs. Sometimes, it may be too warm for pants, but you should be sure to protect yourself when in the wilderness. Socks are necessary to prevent blisters.

Out on the trails
Out on the trails

Hiking is a great activity and something that almost anyone can find time to enjoy. Just be sure to know some of the beginner tips before you hit the trail so that you stay safe and enjoy yourself when you are first starting out.

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