If you’re feeling pretty out of shape, or just want to embark on a journey to a healthier life, one way you can do this is through hiking. You can make your hikes as easy or as hard as you like; go on a serious trek, or a take a fun stroll. Hiking is the perfect way to prepare your body for strenuous activity, so it’s a great starter exercise. Here’s the first timer’s guide to hiking to help you:
1. How long do you have to hike?
Ideally, you want trails that you are able to complete in less than a day to start off with. This means you won’t need to take an extra change of clothes, pack a tent, or anything else that could complicate things. You’ll need to select a hike dependant on the time you have – is it a whole Saturday, or just a couple of hours on a Thursday? Start off small and you’ll be able to climb island peak before you know it!
2. Are you hiking alone, or with a group?
Hiking on your own, is likened by some to meditation. It can be very therapeutic! However, you need to be careful as hiking by yourself can be more dangerous, depending on where you’re going. Hiking is a great way to bond, so ask a friend or a group of friends to join you!
If you must go hiking alone, make sure you tell somebody where you’re going and what time you think you’ll be home. Did you ever see the film 127 hours? It’s enough to put anybody off hiking alone! Make sure you tell somebody you trust the appropriate details so that they can contact the authorities if you don’t return.
3. What do you plan on wearing?
It’s very important that you’re comfortable for your hike. You can either wear proper hiking boots (these can be uncomfortable) or trainers. It’s totally up to you! You’ll need to try to find some socks that won’t make your feet sweaty and uncomfortable, or give you blisters. Pants are a must (we hope you’d wear them anyway), as well as comfortable trousers. Dress depending on the weather too! Hats, wind jackets, and waterproofs are also acceptable.
4. What are you going to pack?
Even if you’re just going on a beginners hike, there are a few things you’ll need to take with you.
- A small backpack
- An outdoor blanket just in case you would decide to camp out.
- A charged mobile phone. Preferably a smartphone so you can use some of the great hiking apps and listen to a playlist!
- A camera.
- A book or kindle (try finding a beautiful location and getting lost in a book for a few hours!).
- Sunscreen to protect yourself from the harsh rays.
- Bug spray to avoid bites.
- A first aid kit just incase.
- Food to keep your energised.
So, now you should be ready to go on your first hike! Why not track your hike, using an iPhone app or buy investing in a Nike Fuel band to keep you motivated? Make a great playlist, take plenty of water and some nuts to snack on, and you’re ready to go!