Hiking is one of the best types of exercise a person can benefit from. It does not require too much physical activity that discourages so many people from working out. And at the same time, it has plenty of benefits for the physical and even mental health of an individual. It’s not just walking on payment in a city, it requires a bit more physical activity.
Hiking is great for most groups of people, even for the older ones. The best idea is to find an area outside of the city to breathe fresh air. Walking outside of the city also means that you don’t walk on a smooth payment and can train your muscles more. But if you can’t find a spot outside of the city, a park will do the trick too.
If you are a beginner and want to start hiking, this article will come in handy. You may think that it’s easy to start hiking – and it is. But there are still many useful tips that will make the process more fun, enjoyable, and good for your health.
Finding A Hiking Partner Or A Group
Many people ask – is it weird to hike alone? No, it’s not at all weird, it’s beneficial for your health. But most people prefer doing it with someone since it’s more fun and enjoyable. But what if you are the only person who wants to start hiking? What if you don’t want to hike alone? Does that mean you have to go hiking alone?
No, there are several ideas you can use to find hiking partners or even groups of people who go hiking. This type of physical activity has become extremely popular and plenty of people currently enjoy it. Below you can find some ideas on how to find a partner for hiking.
Benefits Of Hiking With Partners
Even though people in the cities rarely have the option of hiking anywhere outside of local parks, most people prefer finding a spot somewhere near the forests. And there are many benefits of hiking with a partner in such a case:
- less weight carried;
- physical and mental support;
- sharing the responsibilities.
Of course, if you are hiking in the city (still possible), you won’t have to carry a tent, water filter, stove, and other tools or objects. But when it comes to hiking in suburban areas, companionship has lots of benefits. You can share the weight so that it will be easier for everyone in a group.
Moreover, instead of one person doing all the work, you can share it between the participants. One person can install the tent, another can go filter the water, while the third person is occupied with safety procedures. Yes, safety is a thing too. It also takes off some mental pressure from your shoulders since you can rely on other people in a group.
How To Find A Hiking Partner
You may or may not be surprised, but there are actually apps to connect hikers. It’s nearly like dating apps where people find compatible partners. If you can’t convince your friends or family members about the benefits of hiking, you can use such apps as Meetup.com. Moreover, you can join social media groups on Twitter or Facebook to find local groups of hikers. Just join a group, and post ‘hiking partners wanted’. Someone might live near you and you can go hiking.
If you aren’t into trusting strangers, there is still another great option – turning to your colleagues, classmates, groupmates, etc. Whoever you know, ask them whether they are into hiking in groups. Even if you have good relationships with your neighbors, you can try convincing them too.
Choosing A Hiking Trail
Choosing a trail might seem like an easy task, but it’s only on the surface. Choosing a hiking trail depends on several factors that you need to consider, and here are some of the most important ones:
- weather conditions;
- group or single hike;
- ways to get there;
- difficulty level.
Before you google locations nearby, consider how much time you have and at what frequency you can go hiking. If you don’t have much time during the week, you may consider an easier path closer to your home. Frequency in this case will do the trick, even if the path won’t be highly difficult.
If again, you don’t have much time, the hiking trail shouldn’t be too long. Consider people with whom you are hiking – you may be at a different physical strength. If a path is easy for you, it isn’t necessarily easy for your companions. The difficulty is also extremely important, especially if you are only beginning.
Don’t Bite More Hike Than You Can Chew
The rule ‘don’t bite more than you can’ can be applied to both – beginners and professionals. Even though hiking isn’t particularly trauma prone, but you still may experience difficulty and pain if you walk too much or choose a way too difficult hiking trail.
Do not underestimate hiking – it’s not as easy as many people think. Consider it as running or working out in the gym – you don’t force yourself to work out harder when you are beginning. Try to choose easier trails at the beginning, or consider walking a shorter distance. Then, after a month or two, if everything seems to be fine, you may increase the level of difficulty, the speed of walking, the trail, etc.
Where To Find A Beginner-Friendly Hiking Route
It may sound too simple but consider your local park. It may seem to be too easy, but if you walk a long distance, it will make a difference. If you believe you can do better, then consider finding a local group of hikers, they most likely know various trails where you can begin hiking.
Choosing The Right Hiking Gear
Needless to say, gear is important. Your clothes, shoes, other equipment – everything is important to make sure you don’t get traumatized. Some people ask – is hiking a hobby? Why then should we spend more money on the right equipment? Yes, hiking may be a hobby or rather a lifestyle, but you still need to take care of your well-being.
Would it be weird for you to buy special shoes to be able to run during the winter? Or would it surprise you that you need comfortable clothes to work out at the gym? No, it wouldn’t, and since hiking is also a way of working out, you need to prepare.
Don’t Make These Mistakes When Choosing Hiking Clothes
As it was mentioned, any clothes won’t work for hiking. Here are the biggest mistakes that you can make while choosing clothes for hiking:
- Choosing fabrics that dry slowly. Denim, cotton, and other slow-drying fabrics should be avoided since they increase the risk of hypothermia.
- Choosing footwear that isn’t designed for long-distance walking. Needless to say, your shoes should be comfortable.
- Not choosing comfortable socks. If you leave the back of your foot exposed, the shoes that you wear will keep rubbing against your skin – and that will cause trauma.
- Not choosing a comfortable bra. Women should consider sports bras since they won’t cause any uncomfortable rubbing against the skin.
- Too big or loose clothes, heavy coats/jackets. If you are wearing clothes that are too big, you will feel uncomfortable. If you wear something too heavy, it will increase the level of difficulty and won’t benefit you.
- Not considering the weather conditions. You don’t want to feel too hot or too cold when hiking.
It’s extremely important to feel comfortable while hiking, so considers these factors and don’t make mistakes.
Pick Comfortable Hiking Footwear
Just as clothes shouldn’t be too tight or loose, the same rule is applied when you are picking your footwear. Consider wearing socks, it’s actually a must if you don’t want to experience the nagging feeling of your footwear rubbing against tender skin on the back of your feet.
Pack Enough Food And Water
If you are going hiking for a while, having water is an absolute must. You may take water filters if you know where to get water, so you can just filter the water rather than take it with you. Take nutritious food with you as well so you won’t feel exhausted or not able to walk further.
Preparing For The Hike
You may be wondering what to bring on a short hike, or what to wear. But there are other things to consider too.
Let Someone Know Where You’ll Be
The worst thing to do is not to alarm anyone that you are going hiking. Sure, if you don’t have forests anywhere around and you are simply hiking in the park, it may not be as crucial But if you are preparing to go to the forest, you don’t know what may happen. First, tell someone that you are going hiking. Second, ping the location where you will be. Third, mention when you are planning to go back.
Start Your Hike Early As Possible
The sooner you wake up, the better. It’s always nice to wake up early in the morning when there aren’t any people around when everyone is still asleep. It will be easier for you to get to the destination point, and you will have the full day ahead of you to enjoy hiking.
Get A Physical Map
It’s important to find a hiking buddy if you are planning to go to the forest, but it’s also essential to make sure you won’t get lost. You can take your phone or tablet, but that’s not a reliable idea. The best idea is to get an actual map. It isn’t dependent on charging, Internet connection, and it’s just a piece of paper, so it’s not heavy to carry with you.
Some other tips might be useful in your case. For example, how to use your phone wisely, or how to deal with potential animals that live in your area.
Use Your Phone Smartly
Do not forget to charge your phone. Yes, you may take a power bank with you, but it’s extra weight. The best idea is to charge your phone to make sure it won’t ‘die’ when you need it the most. And try to use your phone only when you 100% need it. The phone is a distraction, and it’s not the point of hiking.
Know-How To Deal With Wildlife
Check what animals you may meet in the forest. If there are dangerous animals in your area, make sure you know the rules of how to survive. Moreover, animals are not the only concern – bugs could be more dangerous. For example, ticks that might be carrying Lyme disease, encephalitis, etc. Make sure to take a bug repellant to avoid any possible danger.