Tip #8: Take it all in.
You’ve made it to the last hike in the challenge. During your hike this week, take a moment to reflect on the things you’re grateful for, such as enjoying the scenery, being with loved ones, or connecting with nature. Focus on your five senses to promote feelings of calm and relaxation.
Tip #7: Stretch post-hike.
Feeling sore this week? After your hike, take time to stretch your muscles — it will help you recuperate more effectively. Move gradually and gently, breathe deeply and listen to your body. Let your doctor know if you have any pain.
Tip #6:Dress accordingly.
Wear lightweight, moisture-wicking, synthetic clothes (skip the cotton and go for wool) and comfortable socks and shoes/boots. Wear layers that you can add or shed as needed, and bring a light raincoat. On cold days, pack a hat and gloves. Don’t forget sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
Tip #5: Bring energizing snacks.
To fuel your hike this week, bring along some healthy snacks to keep you nourished and energized. Examples include orange slices, bananas, apples, carrots, peanut butter crackers/sandwiches, protein bars and/or trail mix/nuts.
Tip #4: Hydrate!
Hydration is crucial before, during and after your hike. As you exercise, your body works harder and uses the fluids you take in at a higher rate. Aim for about a half liter of water per hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures. Avoid caffeine. Take frequent water breaks throughout your hike.
Tip #3: Pack the essentials.
Pack plenty of water (more than you need), food/snacks, first aid kit, insect repellent, sun protection, map, compass, waterproof matches/lighter, a headlamp/flashlight, batteries, extra clothes and your phone. Some hikers bring a GPS tracker or emergency device too.
Tip #2: Put it on your calendar.
Let’s be honest, our schedules can get hectic. Review your upcoming week (or weeks) and figure out the most practical day/s for you or your group to hike, then slot it into your calendar so you’ll make time for it. Check the local weather forecast before setting out on your next hike.
Tip #1: Pick the right trail.
Before you set out on your hike, pick a good trail for your group’s fitness level and familiarize yourself with it ahead of time, understand the terrain, etc. A 5-mile hike on flat ground is different than straight uphill. Pace yourself and start with small, manageable hikes (you can build on it each week). If hiking with a family/kids, take into account age and fitness level. If you’re setting out alone, let others know where you’ll be hiking and when you expect to return.
Check out the map on this page to find a trail near you.