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The idea of going for a hike is incredible; the beautiful outdoors, fresh air, stunning views, and a new adventure altogether. Immersing yourself into the outdoors is thrilling for many survivalists, but it comes with some risks. Regardless of your experience or where you are headed, unexpected circumstances might occur while you are out there. Thankfully, there are several ways of reducing the chances of encountering unfortunate events during a hiking trip. The more prepared you are for the journey, the higher your chances of having a great time and staying safe.
1. Work On Your Cardiovascular Fitness
Fitness experts advise that an average person should do at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercises in a week. When planning for a hiking activity, consider following this recommendation and even adding some extra time. The best aerobic activities for hikers are cycling, jogging, swimming, and brisk walking, which are ideal when preparing for a hike. Even if you cannot make it to the gym, you can exercise from your house. The aim is to get your heart pumping. So, look into activities like squats, hops, jumping jacks, leg raises, and plank-jacks. If you are going to a high altitude area, include high-intensity training too to prepare your body for the bursts of strength you require to climb slopes.
2. Buy the Right Hiking Boots and Socks
Properly fitting hiking socks and boots with sufficient cushioning will help you to avoid issues like rolling your ankle. Please never forget these items because you need enough support while walking. When you purchase the right gear, you won’t experience painful blisters, which are major hiking hindrances. If you don’t know what to buy, talk to an expert at any outdoor supplies store, and they will offer some guidance. When you get home, try walking around the house with the boots to test their comfort level. Avoid cotton socks because they keep moisture from sweaty feet, which results in blisters. Instead, go for hiking socks that are made using materials like synthetics or wool to ease friction and wick away moisture.
3. Carry Enough Water or a Water Purification System
Hiking experts recommend that adults should drink at least half a liter per hour when they are active outdoors. You might need more if the sun is hotter or if you are on a steep trail. Although you can carry all the water you need while on a short hike, it’s not possible if you are going for an extended period. You can save your weight by using a purification system. Ask the park rangers or check your map for natural water resources on the trail. If there are, carry some disinfection and purification materials to refill your bottle on your way. Otherwise, don’t drink unpurified water on a hike, even if it looks crystalline.
4. Pack a First Aid Kit
Buy or customize a first aid kit for the trip. The package should contain things like an antiseptic, bandage, painkillers, and an adhesive wrap. The items will help you manage common hiking injuries such as ankle rolls, bug bites, and scrapes. You can buy the first aid kit from a drugstore or an online shop. If you want to DIY, everything you need to know about assembling one is on the Red Cross website. You might also add some items to the kit based on your health status. Pack your medical history so that in case of an emergency, the paramedic knows what to do.
Create an itinerary and send it to someone who is not going for the hike. Make sure that all your group members agree on the plan. Include the starting point, destination, trail, and the expected finishing time. When calculating the timeline, remember that predicting how long you will take on unfamiliar terrain is not easy. That is why you should start the trip early, stick to the time frame, and avoid being over-ambitious. If you are hiking in a park, leave a copy of the itinerary at the park office.
6. Appreciate That Hiking Is Not a Race
During a hiking trip, sure is better than fast. Many beginners start the hike at a rapid pace, only to get tired halfway into the trail. Conserve your energy, especially if you are going for a long walk. You don’t know what situation will arise when you require the power. It is all a matter of safety, so complete with some juice in the tank. If you are part of a group, stay with your friends. In case you plan on splitting at some point, keep the timelines you agree on. Otherwise, engaging in other activities besides what you decided is a sure-fire way of getting stranded.
7. Use Your Whole Body
After a hiking trip, many people give credit to their legs for taking them through the trail. That explains why some accidents occur; most people don’t engage all their body parts during a hike. You have all your entire body to thank because it was involved in making the trip a success. Whenever you need to call on your arms, hands, or behinds to scoot around the slopes, don’t hesitate to do so. Balance is vital, and your legs can get exhausted, especially during a challenging hike.
8. Mental Preparation Is Crucial Too
Fear is a big enemy, whether you are trying a new venture or an old one. You can combat it by ensuring that you are physically prepared for the task. Make sure that you keep positive thoughts to engage your physique for the hike. Focus on the benefits you will gain after completing the adventure. Most importantly, visualize success by picturing yourself at the end of the trail. There could be a little self-doubt because that happens to everyone, even the most prepared. Luckily, you can handle it by knowing why you are on an adventure trip.