9 tips to help you get started hiking

Love nature and walking? Why not combine the both and get a dose of exercise out on the trails? Here are nine tips to help get you on your way. 

Feeling like there’s an endless hill to conquer before you can start hiking? Think again. All you really need to start hiking is a love of nature and the will to get off the couch. Here are a few simple tips to help get you started.

1.  Start Small – The most important thing is that you don’t take on any trail that’s beyond your fitness level or navigational abilities.

2.  Set goals – Make a constantly evolving bucket list of your ultimate hikes. It will give you something to work towards and help keep you motivated.

3.  Trip intentions – Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. It’s not nice to think of the worst case scenario, but you should prepare for it anyway.

4.  No expensive hiking gear necessary – Go for loose fitting or stretchy materials and use layers of clothing appropriate for the climate and weather you’re hiking in. Make sure your shoes fit well and are worn in.

Hiking shoes
5.  Hydrate – Bring enough water to keep you going throughout your hike, but also make sure you drink enough before you start so that you’re not already dehydrated.

6.  Energy food
– Take a mix of compact, high energy foods. Nuts or trail mix, fruit and muesli bars are all good options.

7.  Don’t look up – When it’s a long way to the end of your hike, try looking at the ground or the nature around you, instead of up the trail. Sometimes the hardest part is knowing how far you’ve got to go.

8.  Make it a game
– Set yourself challenges to take the focus off your tired muscles. One idea is to see how much unusual wildlife you can spot along the way or why not try geocaching, the world’s largest treasure hunt?

9.  Leave no trace
– There’s no point hiking to beautiful places only to destroy them, so follow the hikers golden rule – “Take only photos, leave only footprints.”

Above all, make sure you have fun. The best thing about exercising in nature is that you’re not as conscious of the fact that you’re even exercising.
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