As well as being exciting in and of itself, hiking has tremendous health benefits. Regular hiking leads to improved heart and lung fitness, stronger muscles, lower risks of various cancers, reduced depression and better quality of sleep. These benefits are enough to get anyone wanting to take up hiking on a regular basis, however there are some basic guidelines in hiking that need to be observed to ensure a successful hike.
Basic Tips When Hiking
Plan your trip carefully: Before going on a hike, plan it out in as much detail as possible. Try to take into consideration how long will it be for, what areas will you visit, what contingencies you have in place, and the like. Basically, the more detailed you can plan it out the higher your chances for a very successful hike.
File a trip plan: Make sure you let someone responsible know that you are going on a hike and leave detailed descriptions your plans and any vehicles, clothes e.t.c that you will be using. This will be of tremendous assistance in the event of any ‘rescue’ missions. Try to think of what kind of information you’d like to know if one of your family members went missing during a hike.
Food supplies: Ensure you have adequate food supplies for the duration of the hike. If you will be out for long you’ll need long lasting foods such as Mountain House cans.
Water supplies: Along with food, ensure you have adequate water supplies or that you will have access to fresh water. If you plan to ‘live of the land’ ensure you have a means of filtering your water to prevent water-borne infection.
Clothing: Remember, it does need to be cold for one to suffer from hypothermia. Be prepared for all weather eventualities and ensure you have clothing that is warm and waterproofed.
Good footwear: A hike will consist of a lot of walking so it only makes sense to ensure you have a comfortable pair of hiking boots for the duration of your hike.
Knowledge of the terrain: As part of your early preparation you need to ensure you know the terrain you will be hiking in. This is very important particularly in areas that are know to harbour dangerous creatures such as snakes, scorpions etc. By knowing the terrain you will know which areas to avoid.
Never hike alone: When out on a hike, always ensure you’re with someone. It’s very easy for accidents to occur during a hike and the hiker not being found for weeks.
Be observant: Keep an eye out and focus on your hike. This will help you enjoy the hike as well as be alert and hence ready for any dangers that may present themselves during the hike.
Be prepared: Pack a map and compass and know how to use them. Do not start out on a hike if you have not mastered these basic tools. Also, ensure you pack a torch with spare batteries, some water proof matches and a charged phone for emergencies.
Above all, remember that health and safety is of paramount importance when going out on a hike and that all it takes it a little bit of common sense and some foresight to ensure you have a nice, successful hike!