Beyond the tall skyscrapers, the buzz of city streets and occasional chatter in offices or malls lies a world that is filled with natural wonders that never fail to bring us serenity. It is no wonder that escalating stress levels are concurrent to the elevated need to go out and wander as a means of stress relief. Hiking, particularly, does not only help broaden our perspective but brings us a lot closer to nature, at the same time as well. It is essential to find the time to unwind every once in a while—ultimately for our mental, physical and emotional health.
But taking a “walk” isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are certain tips that you need to keep in mind before deciding to go for a hike on your fleeting free time.
- Check the forecast.
A lot of people underestimate the unpredictability that is the weather. Look at the forecast for the entirety of the week leading up to the day of your much-awaited hike. This will help you in preparing more efficiently, dressing up more accordingly and if there be a need in change of plans (unfortunate, but it is better to keep safe).
- Consider your level of fitness.
…and be as honest as possible. If you’re new to hiking, start with less challenging trails. Look at reviews about the trail, the total duration, and distance, its elevation. Doing simple research while having your fitness state at the back of your mind will help make the experience a lot more fun than physically draining. Always remember not to push yourself and keep it at a pace you can handle. Don’t rush, rather, pause every once in a while, and let your surroundings occur to you naturally. Don’t just look down, look around and breathe.
- Let someone know.
It’s not for purposes other than safety. Tell them where you’re going exactly when you plan on hiking and getting back. It is through gaining these details that your friend will know when the situation calls for concern and an emergency (in case anything happens to you). Keep them posted; you don’t want to cause unnecessary apprehension.
- Make sure to bring the essentials.
Extra food, water, and clothes; means of navigation, fire and shelter; a first aid kit, knife, protective paraphernalia (gloves, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and a good pair of boots and durable but lightweight clothes)—these are all vital and should not be overlooked. It’s better to be fully ready than regretful.
- Rehydrate and refill your stomach.
You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere dehydrated. It is essential that you rehydrate (with water) pre, during and post hiking. Refrain from drinking caffeinated and alcoholic beverages—it really won’t help. A full meal isn’t necessary—simply pack ample, yet carb and protein filled snacks to battle hypoglycemia, fatigue or dizziness. Examples of such are protein bars, peanut butter sandwiches, and jerky.
- Leave NO Trace.
If you’re willing enough to hike far distances, then it shouldn’t be difficult to maintain cleanliness along the way. Respect nature and wildlife by picking and packing your trash, following rules and regulations, and being considerate of other hikers. The place isn’t exclusively yours and most certainly deserves respect.
Hiking can be a truly fun, peaceful and mind-opening breather if you apply these tips. Don’t forget that you are primarily there to enjoy and cherish the outdoors—each step closer to a stronger bond with nature. Have fun and remain respectful as you go!