Hiking in the woods is a great pastime for almost everyone. Not only does it provide quality exercise, but it also helps reduce stress levels and learn to appreciate nature. It is especially good to get children interested in hiking for these reasons.
However, unlike taking a stroll around the block, hiking carries with it some more possible safety concerns. In order to stay safe while hiking, you should always follow these three main safety tips.
Plan For Anything
The most important thing you can do to stay safe on the hiking trail is to plan for any possible problem. This does not mean you need to carry an eighty-pound backpack complete with tent, food, and survival gear if you are planning a two-mile hike in the local park. You should take everything with you that you are likely to need in a certain situation.
Some things that you should always bring with you are bottled water, snacks, and a first aid kit. The water will prevent dehydration; the snacks are good for quick energy in case your blood sugar drops, and the first aid kit will help with scrapes and cuts. You should also carry a small rain poncho and a sweatshirt or jacket of some sort if the weather may turn cold.
For longer hikes, you should bring more items. Some fire starters and waterproof matches are always a good idea. Also, you should always bring a cell phone or some other way of calling for help if you need it.
Never Go Alone
If you go hiking alone, you are increasing your chances of getting into some sort of trouble. What will happen if you do fall and break an ankle? You should always bring a buddy with you who you can lean on, or who can go for help.
If you do not have a friend to go hiking with, you should make sure to stay in contact in other ways. Using a cell phone, radio, or other methods of communication will assure that you are never really alone if something happens.
Know Your Limitations
Perhaps the biggest cause of problems when hiking is people not recognizing their limitations. If you have never hiked before, you should not start out with a very long journey. Also, you should not climb mountains, try to swim across rivers or do anything else that you do not know you can do.
Staying safe while hiking is the most important thing. With good planning, the buddy system, and respect for nature, you will be able to have a good time. Hiking is not only a fun hobby but also great exercise.