Hiking is a wonderfully rewarding form of exercise and can be done in all seasons, providing that the weather isn’t too extreme. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to hike in mild or moderate conditions to prevent heat or cold interfering with your enjoyment of the experience.
Don’t Hike Alone
Always ramble within a group, or at least with one other person. If you become injured or run into trouble, you need to have someone available to aid you, or to go for help. You can also receive the benefit of learning from more experienced hikers from yourself. They will have plenty to teach them.
If you’re carrying common group gear, this can be distributed among the group so that you don’t end up with an excessively heavy pack. Hiking is also a great chance to socialise, to build and to maintain relationships, so try rambling with friends.
Fuel Your Body
It’s best to snack little and often throughout the day when hiking to keep your energy levels up. It’s not advised that you wait for a big lunch, because you’re doing constant exercise and you don’t want to have a big dip in blood sugar.
It’s a good idea to take a small amount of extra food, just in case the hike takes longer than you were expecting it to. You should also carry enough water to last the whole day, and keep drinking to stay hydrated. This is especially important in warm weather.
Whether rain or shine has been forecasted, it’s a good idea to take a lightweight waterproof coat. Hikingisn’t fun in wet clothes. You can purchase high quality waterproofs from online retailers like Outdoor Look. It’s best to wear layers when hiking, so you can add and remove clothing when necessary.
Hiking boots, of course, are required. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can go rambling wearing a pair of trainers. If you’re worried about blisters, pack an extra pair of thick socks.
Leave No Trace
Embracing the ‘leave no trace’ hiking ethos is very important. Using footpaths and walking in open spaces is something that everyone should be able to do, so make sure you leave the environment in exactly the state you found it so that people can enjoy the same trail for years to come.
Don’t be tempted to leave signs to mark the trail and avoid disturbing wildlife or crops. Picking wildflowers is discouraged, but you can take interesting leaves or bits of bark home to commemorate the journey, as long as you find them on the ground.