Going hiking? One of the greatest things you can do for your personal well-being in my opinion is hiking. The things it can do for you is totally worth the price of admission, just get some good boots, admit it’s doable, and feel how much healthier and happier you’ll become. The smell of the trees and flowers, the majestic views, and the fresh air all add valued sensations to such a beneficial experience. Experiences that keep you strong physically and mentally and do wonders for extending your life expectancy.
When it comes to hiking trips for beginners, having boots and a desire to venture out into the wild brings a level of personal responsibility, one that requires careful consideration to one’s safety and well-being to ensure that every moment that you experience in nature is not your last. What you need to go hiking will entirely depend on where you’ll be and how long you plan to be on that adventure. In this article I will cover some of the more vital things you should have when you’re a significant distance from civilization, mentally, and physically speaking.
The determination of your strength and fitness level may very well be one of the most important things to consider before venturing out into the wilderness, so let’s start by covering physical strength as well as endurance, and how it’s crucial that you know your limitations and what you can do to improve it. Along with hiking regularly, and gradually increasing the time and distance that you hike, a good workout routine at the gym or at home will help with making you capable of increasing the difficulty level of the hikes your interested in taking.
Maintaining and having good leg and lower body strength should be one of your main concerns, especially if you want to carry provisions on your longer journeys, to help make it easier to traverse the terrain. Try not to rule out improving shoulder upper back and arms as well to keep you ready for steeper trails. When it comes to endurance the best way to have plenty is to work on core strength. Core muscle strength will lead to less fatigue and reduce your chance of injury, some exercises that work really well to help improve your core for beginners are plank, dead bug, and boat.
It is important to note also that before you begin any kind of strenuous exercise program including hiking, that you talk to your doctor. Doing some research and making a plan for what you want to accomplish will also help you to achieve your goals. When it comes to mental strength you may not see much of a connection to hiking, but when you’re hiking, your strength mentally should already be tested. Some things you do before and during hiking will actually help you improve mental strength, such as exercising, being mindful of your environment, focusing on your direction, and even preparing yourself for the challenge with visualization, all are good exercises for the mind.
Hiking trips for beginners can consist of many things, ultimately it’s up to you to make the right choices. Learning as much as you can about things that relate to the type of activities you enjoy, can do so much for your safety, and your personal growth. Some important aspects to consider before venturing into the mountains are knowing what you should take with you, and knowing how to use those items, not to mention a wealth of knowledge about certain skills that will help you to survive in troubling situations.
Skills like first aid training, starting a fire with no matches or lighter, building a simple shelter, knot tying, reading topographical maps, and reading stars are all valuable skills that may be of some use when your out hiking. Getting into trouble out in the wilderness when out hiking doesn’t happen that often, but it’s better to have all these skills just in case anyway. If your into plenty of outdoor activities, practicing these types of skills can definitely add to more reasons to go out and enjoy nature.
Other things that are worth mentioning that are important before heading out, is to make sure that you let others know what area you will be exploring and when you expect to return. Knowing the geographical conditions (topographic map) of your hike should also be something that you are aware of, such as type of terrain, elevation, bodies of water, and the directions that these things are in or go. Also, if your new to an area or not, be sure to check out the short and long term forecast so you can prepare properly for what changes may occur with the weather.
When it comes to hiking, every trail you venture out on will offer a unique perspective to nature all around you, and with that it will also offer you unique challenges. The best way to combat those challenges is to be prepared for the unexpected. Carrying a sturdy backpack that fits comfortably and is large enough to hold survival essentials will suffice for most hikers. Most of the items you take should not add up to too much weight because fortunately many of your necessities are readily available in compact form, and are recommended. Here is a list of some of the more important items you should always take with you on your wilderness hikes:
- Sturdy backpack
- Good hiking boots or shoes
- Extra clothes such as socks, gloves, pants, long sleeve shirt (weather appropriate)
- Extra water and food
- First aid kit
- Multi purpose knife
- Map and compass
- Sun protection, such as sunglasses, hat and sunscreen
- Matches or lighter
One more thing to consider when out hiking is to be aware that there are many types of wildlife out there, most of them are harmless and will avoid you, but some are quite dangerous. Coming in contact with a dangerous wild animal is fairly rare, and a lot less likely when you are not alone, so always go with a friend or two, you’ll have more fun anyway.
Hiking trips by yourself can be just as satisfying for a lot of people, after all the beauty and energy of nature will still benefit you a great deal, but in my opinion having a companion with you to share the experience will only enhance the lives of its participants. Especially if they include a loyal canine, most animal lovers get a thrill out of having a happy dog to share their mutual love for the outdoors. A well-trained pet can also provide you with added safety even if it’s the only companion you have access to.
Taking kids out for hikes are great ways to teach them the value of outdoor activities, not to mention the wonderful mind and body stimulation every growing child needs. Hiking children will certainly benefit with more self-confidence, build better bodies, live happier lives, and open their minds to the environment with vibrant curiosity. The bottom line for the most part is anyone you can go hiking with will always provide a more meaningful experience for all creatures involved, and in this day and age we could all use more of that. If you would like to share your advice or experience, feel free to leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.
So put your best boots on, and find your path.