Fresh air, amazing landscapes, a new experience every day: hiking is wonderful! If you’ve always wanted to try yourself in this activity, but still do not know if it’s worth the time, we’ve covered a few important points for you about how to prepare yourself and what to expect along the way.
Today, such words as trekking, backpacking, and hiking have become very popular. All of them belong to the forms of active rest, and the last issue is exactly what we are going to discuss.
Is hiking useful?
First of all, hiking is good for health. It may seem that during the hikes you strain only the legs, but in fact, all the muscles of the body are involved. This kind of rest develops cardiorespiratory endurance, which is very important if you are doing sports at least to keep fit. Besides, hiking is an opportunity to keep muscles toned, control weight, and improve metabolism. According to the American Hiking Society, hiking reduces stress and anxiety.
Among other things, hiking is a kind of meditation for the body and soul. Finally, hiking is an interesting experience or just an opportunity to have a good summer, to be inspired by new experiences, and to acquire useful skills.
Where to begin
It is rather difficult to prepare for a hike if you do not know your route. Therefore, we recommend starting preparing for hiking by selecting the route. There are several options for beginners to hike. You can choose from popular routes, join a group of tourists or go somewhere along your own way with friends or alone.
One of the popular types of hiking today is urban hiking. It is suitable for those who want to try themselves in this form of recreation, but do not tolerate “wild” conditions. Urban hiking is an opportunity to discover interesting places in your own or any other city. This type of tourism also requires special routes. On the websites devoted to hiking, you can find useful information about where to go, what season and weather are the best for hiking, and what trail is right for you. To choose from the routes available, the guidebooks for beginners will be helpful, but the disadvantage of such publications is that they do not always give up-to-date information on the current state of the route, and this can let you down on the way.
You can also join the appropriate club, where you can find like-minded people or just professionals who periodically follow the popular routes and regularly give information about the trails in this or that area. If you decide to try your hand at hiking, here are some clubs that will help you decide: Adirondack Mountain Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, Sierra Club.
Hiking is a pleasure requiring endurance and some physical preparation. Despite the fact that hiking sounds like a walk, if you add a backpack, a difficult mountain route, and weather changes, you will realize that it is not so relaxed and easy. But do not ever give up this kind of rest. All you need is preliminary training.
The best option to prepare yourself for hiking is yoga, as advised by the American Hiking Society. Exercises that are part of the basic yoga training will help you develop the endurance, strength, and flexibility that will come in handy. It is also worth remembering breathing exercises, and if yoga is not to your liking, then ordinary fitness or evening jogging is an ideal option. However, do not neglect health problems. It is best to consult a doctor in advance about the general condition and, perhaps, get some useful advice on how to better prepare yourself for physical exertion.
Whom to go hiking with
Today, hiking alone is very popular because this is a unique opportunity to test yourself in unusual conditions, test your strength and endurance, and just stay alone with your thoughts and feelings. But do not give up simple fun because in the right company hiking can be a good pastime for you and your friends. In addition, it is safer. This trip is easier to organize if you just want to relax with friends in nature, while doing something really useful for your body.
But if the goal of your trip is more serious, the suitable environment can become a necessity. Experts from the American Hiking Society advise going camping with a group consisting of 4 people at least, in case someone gets injured, two people can go to ask for help, and the injured person will not be left alone. For especially dangerous routes there is a limit of 10 people.
In the 1980s, tourists used to wear jeans and felt shirts in any weather and in any situation, but this does not mean that you should also neglect the right clothes. Fortunately, today there are many worthy brands offering everything you need for hiking because your success during hiking by half depends on proper equipment. The most important rule is to stay dry. Choose the clothes that are modeled to preserve heat and do not soak completely. You cannot wear thermal underwear for the summer season, as it will be too hot for you. Clothing should not be made from natural cotton because it dries too long and can cause irritation.
Shoes should be light and waterproof. The choice of shoes should be approached carefully because the model that you will buy without due consideration will let you down on your way. It is worth paying attention to accessories: hats, backpacks, sunglasses.
When going hiking, do not forget about the things that a beginning tourist must have. Here is the list of 10 important things that you will need to purchase.
- A map
- A compass
- A sunscreen and insect repellent
- Food and water
- A head flashlight
- Spare clothes
- A first-aid kit
- A knife
- Matches or a lighter
- A set for fire
- Food for the hike
The most important thing about hiking is not to forget about water. Your body will need a lot of liquid, so take care to have at least 2 liters per day. Pure water will be worth its weight in gold if the trail chosen by you is not rich in natural sources.
Physical loads, as you know, burn calories, which can affect your health during hiking. Do not forget to take something to eat. In order to gain the right amount of calories, the best option would be to have a bar with cereals and nuts. This choice is good not only for vegans. Apples and jerked meat are also very useful. The rest is up to you.
Try to choose high-calorie snacks and avoid the foods that will spoil quickly. Do not take too much-canned food either.
Is it worth it?
Hiking is definitely one of the types of outdoor activities, which is worth trying because it is suitable for almost everyone. Obvious advantages of hiking are that the route can be chosen independently and adapted to your needs and desires.