Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities that can help you fight stress, meditate, explore nature, and fill your lungs with fresh air. Some people don’t like hiking and prefer to stay at home on a sunny day, but you know that’s not cool. Spending as much time as possible on a trail with your friends is an absolute win for your physical and mental health.
If you’ve been avoiding hiking for some reason, now’s the time to get familiar with it and give it a try. Walking in the woods doesn’t mean you’ll get eaten by a bear nor that you’ll die of hunger. Be brave and get out there now!
Hike with a friend or with a group of them
If it’s your first time, don’t go alone. Hiking with a bunch of friends is fun and motivating and will help you become a good hiker very fast. Don’t hesitate to ask questions while on the trail or to ask for a break when you feel tired. If you don’t have outdoorsy friends, find new ones in the local hiking club that would be happy to plan a day trip with you. What matters is being in good company and with someone with more experience than you.
Hike once a week in the nearby forest
A day hike in the local park or forest will help you build strength and endurance for longer and more challenging trails. Try to do it once a week and test the gear you have. It’s better to see there’s a tear in your rain jacket when close to home than realize it on the mountain trail.
Beginner hikers often forget about the importance of water. It’s crucial to stay hydrated during the hike and to bring as much water as your body needs. Of course, it all depends on the climate and weather conditions, your pace, body weight, the altitude and the difficulty of the hike. Bring approximately 1 quart (1 liter) of water for every two hours, and then see how much your body needs. You need to experiment the first time to learn how much to bring on your next hikes.
Comfortable hiking footwear
Finding some comfortable footwear that don’t cause blisters is a challenge, especially if your feet are not used to being in boots all day. Take your time and try different types of hiking shoes to see how your feet react. If it’s an easy hike, running shoes can do fine as long as it’s not raining. Listen to your toes and give them what they want.
Dress like a cabbage
Don’t get confused just yet! The cabbage has layers and this is something you should imitate. Layering is an important skill to learn if you want to be a healthy hiker and keep out the cold. Start practicing and check how many layers of clothing work well for you and in which season. Never wear only one piece because hiking means sweating and you need to be able to take off some layers if you’re too hot and put them back on if you feel cold.
When you start hiking, lots of things will seem confusing and complicated. Getting oriented in the wilderness is the first challenge that will cause you a headache. Bring a compass and a topo map to make sure you stay on track.
Also, you need to think about sunscreen to protect your skin, no matter if it’s summer or winter. As long as there is sunlight shining through, you must think of your skin health. In the end, don’t worry too much and get outside. Choose your first trail and give it a try. Good luck!
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