Being out in nature is good for both your mental and physical health says experienced hiker, Jessica Cluess. Hiking is the perfect way to explore the natural wonders in your area. Many people use hiking as an excellent form of exercise and a mindfulness practice. You can promote health, lower your blood pressure, and learn about the land around you–all while starting a new adventure!
Just make sure that you’re staying safe and that you prepare ahead of time, says Cluess. Hiking in well-known and well-populated spots is generally very low-risk. But if you head off into secluded or unmarked spots on the map without the proper prep work, you could find yourself in danger. Check out these tips for hiking beginners below to get you started!
Do Your Research Says Jessica Cluess
To get started, you need to research the area where you’ll be hiking, says Jessica Cluess. Find a hiking trail that is long enough to be a challenge, but that won’t push your physical limits. When you’re getting started, it’s better to start slow and test your boundaries so you can safely gauge what you’re capable of.
A 1-3 mile hike is the perfect place to start depending on your fitness level. If that’s easy, advance to 3-5 hour hikes and try out different terrains–hills, mountains, plains, rocky ground, etc.
Never jump into a hike without researching the terrain. Different terrains require different supplies and clothing. For instance, if you’re hiking in a desert valley like the ones near the grand canyon you’ll need extra water and lightweight clothes. But if you’re hiking in the Smokey Mountains, you’ll probably need to bring rain gear and clothes to keep warm.
Pack the Right Gear
If this is your first time on a big hiking trip, make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks. Remember, it may take you longer than expected and dehydration can be dangerous when it’s not taken seriously. Along with food, make sure to pack layers for temperature changes and a map or navigation device just in case something goes wrong, suggests Jessica Cluess.
Dress in clothing that will keep you comfortable as you go from hot to cold throughout your hike without getting too sweaty or too cold. The best way to do this is by dressing in layers that you can easily remove or add depending on how hot or cold it gets at any given moment during your hike.
Eat and Hydrate Properly Before Your Hike
Don’t start a hike hungry, says https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-cluess-97046495/. And drinking water before and during your hike is very important as well. The better care you take of yourself before heading out, the less likely you are to run into trouble on the trail.