Are you thinking of hiking? One of the best ways to share leisure time and sport with our family and friends, and thus also share its healthy benefits, is to go hiking: a fun activity that allows us to enjoy nature and is also suitable for all ages and all physical conditions, as long as we choose a suitable route.
The benefits of this physical activity, both physically and mentally, are numerous. We talk about what benefits hiking brings us and we give you some tips so that your outings to the countryside or to the mountains are perfect.
The benefits of hiking
Hiking (trekking if we practice it in the mountains) is an aerobic activity that benefits our circulatory system. By hiking we strengthen our heart, something that can help us prevent possible heart disease and keep our blood pressure at optimal values. Hiking, as long as it is not done excessively, has immeasurable health benefits.
Our muscles and bones also benefit from this activity. In the case of the muscles, the ones that work the most are those of the lower body with special emphasis on quadriceps and glutes, especially if we include ups and downs in our route. The bones are also strengthened and their bone density increases, something especially important in the case of women in order to prevent osteoporosis.
As it is an outdoor activity that is generally practiced in the field or in the mountains, hiking also encourages us to breathe much purer air than that of the city and to avoid our many daily obligations, giving us a break (never better said) both physical and mental.
We are going to collect here some recommendations that you can follow when hiking to enjoy the experience and avoid problems.
Choose suitable hiking boots
For hiking boots, you should choose a size that is slightly larger than the soles of your feet, and make sure there is a little room at the ends of your feet. Why? You need to make sure there is a little space between the toes and the “boot wall” which will minimize pain while hiking.
So how do you deal with oversized boots that are a little uncomfortable? The answer can be by using double socks so that your feet are continuously protected from friction, and are protected from mountain air at night. For your info, you can find some best hiking boots under $100 online.
Plan the route
This step is very important. The more details you take into account before starting the route, the less ‘unpleasant’ surprises you will get once you start. What should we plan for?
– Study the route on the map, plan or guide where information about it is included. It is important to know the unevenness, the total length, whether it is circular or not, the estimated duration …
– A walking speed of 4 kilometers per hour is usually taken as a reference. Try to be quite conservative if you go with children or depending on the fitness of the participants, or if it is about routes with a lot of unevenness. It is important to have an approximate idea of the duration to plan the departure time and avoid it getting dark.
– Take into account if there may be special situations during the route: crossing streams, possibility of accumulated snow in some section, sections not passable for whatever reason (e.g. depending on the season of the year) …
– Weather forecast for the place, date and times of departure.
– Try to always go out with someone. If you have any mishap (a simple ankle sprain) you will have someone to help you or to request help. Ideally, go in groups of at least 3 people: if someone has a problem, one person can stay with the affected person while the other goes to seek help.
During the route
The most important thing is to apply common sense. Hiking is enjoying nature, it is not about breaking speed or distance records, especially if we are not physically prepared.
– If that day, for whatever reason, you feel bad, it is preferable not to go out on the route, since you will have a bad time and you will also harm your group.
– Not all of us have the same physical shape, and we can all have a bad day, we can feel bad during the route, more tired than normal, etc. You always have to adapt to the person with the slowest pace.
– If you reach a section that you consider dangerous or that is beyond your possibilities, it is preferable to turn around.
– Leave no one behind.
– Respect nature. Do not shout and do not make too much noise (you will disturb the animals and other people who are doing the route). Of course, do not leave garbage or waste, not even organic waste (fruit peelings, etc.), collect everything in a bag and take it back. Do not uproot plants or branches, etc. In short, enjoy the countryside and leave it as you found it, or better, for example if you take back garbage that a ‘pig’ has previously left.
– It also respects private property. Do not trample the fields: if you have to go through a field or a field of cultivation, do it in single file through an area that harms as little as possible. Do not pick fruits or any product from private farms. If the route goes through private property, leave everything as it was (fence gates, fences, etc.). If an owner has cut off the normal access of the route in any way, it is preferable to turn around and report it to the Town Hall or the Tourist Office or the Civil Guard, etc.
By understanding the points above, you can better prepare your climbing plan while minimizing unwanted bad events during the climb. Hopefully this article can be useful. Thanks for reading and good luck!