10 tips to plan your next hike

September 14, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Being outdoors in the fresh air is healthier than ever right now. As we navigate this pandemic, we’ve learned that it’s also safer to be outside where the air is constantly moving.

Hiking is a fun outdoor activity, and it’s a great way to get your heart rate up, manage your weight, reduce stress and lift your mood. From a light stroll on a flat trail to a more challenging terrain, almost anyone can find a hike that suits their preferences.

Before you head out on your hike though, there are some things to consider. This could make the difference between a great hiking experience and a not-so-great one. Here are 10 tips to plan your next hike:

  1. Consult with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough for hiking, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while or if you have a health condition.
  2. Check your calendar and the local weather forecast to determine the best day and time of day for you and/or your group to hike. Check the forecast again before you head out. Trail conditions can quickly become hazardous when bad weather hits.
  3. Pick the right trail for your fitness level (and the fitness levels of your hiking companions). Remember, a 5-mile hike on flat ground is different than straight uphill, which can be difficult even if you’re in great shape.
  4. Once you pick your trail, familiarize yourself with the trail on the map. Know the distance of the trail and the terrain.
  5. Plan to pack plenty of water (more than you need) and nourishing snacks. Examples include orange slices, bananas, apples, carrots, peanut butter crackers/sandwiches, protein bars and/or trail mix/nuts.
  6. Prepare for the unexpected and any emergencies. Bring a first aid kit, map, compass, waterproof matches/lighter, and headlamp/flashlight. Some hikers carry a GPS tracker or emergency device, too.
  7. Plan to dress for the weather, including lightweight, moisture-wicking, synthetic clothes (skip the cotton and go for wool) and comfortable socks and shoes/boots. You may want to bring a light raincoat or a hat and gloves if it’s cold.
  8. Remember to bring sunglasses and sunscreen, even on cloudy days, as well as insect repellent.
  9. If you’re setting out alone, let others know where you’ll be hiking and when you expect to return.
  10. Hydrate and get plenty of sleep the night before your hike.

Want to move more? Spend time outdoors? Breathe in some fresh air? Join us on an 8-week journey to explore the outdoors and tackle fun, weekly challenges to get your whole group moving! Learn more about the Healthy Driven Take a Hike! Challenge.

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