Spring is on the way and with it good weather. Get out and about in the great outdoors by going on a hike with friends, family, your dog, or even just by yourself for a little alone time. While the word ‘hiking’ conjures up images of steep mountain-side climbs and traipsing through the underbrush, hiking is a physical activity that can be adapted to suit all sorts of fitness types and levels. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Start at the bottom and work your way up
Being a ‘hiker’ doesn’t mean doing 265km circuits through a national park. Spend some time researching the trails in your local area and pick something on the smaller side, one to five kilometres, that has a clear, easily walkable path. Once you’ve conquered that, move up to the next level.
When packing your bag for a hike be sure to include all the essentials, like a map, water, some snacks (or meals if it’s a longer hike), a raincoat, bug repellent, first aid kit and sunscreen. What you pack may expand to camping gear if you decide to tackle multi-day hikes. Keep your day pack as light as possible for a comfortable walk.
Use trekking poles
If you’ve advanced to more difficult downhill terrain, trekking poles will help you with balance and reduce the impact of the walk on your knees.
Check the weather
Always check the weather forecast for the area you plan to hike in. While it may look lovely and sunny now, it may not be by the time the afternoon rolls around. Be prepared for any forecasted weather, and always pack an extra layer for warmth and a raincoat. When it doubt, layer up to suit any weather changes, and keep covered up to avoid any bug bites or brushes with poisonous plants.
Get shoes that fit
Spend some time shopping around outdoor stores and trying on difference kinds of hiking shoes. You want a pair that fits comfortably and provides traction on a range of different surfaces. If you’re just starting out, a pair of heavy-duty runners should do just fine.
Let people know where you’re going
One of the most important things you should do when going on a hike is let someone know where you are going, what time you expect to be back and what trail you plan to take, just in case something unfortunate should happen.
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