With awesome hiking trails all over the world, walking is a great hobby that is great for body, mind and spirit. However, it’s worth noting that even casual strolls can cause discomfort and put you in danger.
Before adventuring out into the great outdoors, get clued up about hiking. If you know what to expect before you go, you will have realistic expectations, enjoy the experience more, and, most importantly, stay safe.
This article outlines walking techniques, equipment and what you need to know before hitting a hiking trail.
1. Invest in the right clothing
Invest in proper walking shoes and the right clothing for all weathers will save you a lot of pain and discomfort. New clothes also give you the motivation to continue with your new hobby – although the fun of new adventures should be enough for that!
Good walking shoes are vitally important. Ideally they should be made from materials that are strong and flexible enough to protect your toes, ankles and knees. For more details check out our article, “What to look for in good walking shoes.”
2. Get in shape
Hiking can be strenuous. If you’re planning to walk a reasonable distance, you want to make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for the test before heading out into the wilderness. The last thing you want is to get stranded in the hills with insufficient energy reserves to make your way back.
3. Research your route
Walking routes have different obstacles, distances and dangers. Before you head out on a hiking trail, research the path and make sure it’s achievable for you.
Reading walking blogs beforehand will also give you useful tips. For example, figure out which path to take because trail marks are not always clear. You also need to have a good idea of how much time it takes to complete the course.
All this useful knowledge enables you to decide how much food and drink you will need, when to start your walk in plenty of time to get back before nightfall and whether you will need insect repellant.
Also, check the weather report on the day you plan to go hiking.
4. Keep a Steady Pace
Hiking trails, typically, are not about completing the course in the quickest time possible. When you’re more experienced and have a trail that you use for fitness walking, by all means pick up the pace, but when you’re starting out, the best strategy is to take your time.
The key to long-distance hiking is to ensure your body can withstand the miles. So set off in plenty of time, keep a steady walking pace, and stop off for rests to admire the view, snack or take photos of nature.
5. Educate About Hydration
It’s obvious you will need to take water with you on your walking. It is important to stay properly hydrated. However, it is equally important not to over hydrate, especially in humid conditions.
Drinking too much in one swoop can lead to water intoxication whereby the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body become diluted. Experts recommend taking on board no more than 4 four of water per hour.
In cold weather conditions, a flask of tea is a better option. Pre-hydrate before a winter hike with things like juice or water.
6. Know Your Limitations
The more often you go hiking, the more accustomed your body will become to the rigours of adventure trails. Your fitness will improve and your body will become stronger. However, you should know your limitations and not try to tackle a hiking trail you are ill-prepared to take.
7. Tell People You’re Safe
You’ll probably tell people you’re heading out for a hike before you go. It’s equally important to let people know you have returned. It wouldn’t be the first time a search and rescue team have been called out under false pretences.
Hiking is a great way to stay healthy, explore nature, inspire travel destinations and feel great. With the Sweatcoin app, you can also convert your steps into digital currency and get exclusive access to hundreds of discounted merchandise.