Outdoor vacations come in many shapes and sizes, varying from camping trips to dude ranches. Or, you may choose something like hiking which can help improve physical fitness and offer peace and quiet, all in a beautiful wilderness or forest. For short hikes, you can even avoid the hassle of reserving an appropriate accommodation or researching the best holiday rentals in the area.
Though hiking can save you some vacation headaches some ways, do not be fooled. Hiking is not just a stroll though the park. Maintaining a smooth rhythm, over a long distance and uneven terrain can be challenging. In addition, you will want to carry a backpack for hikes longer than a few hours. As you see, hiking entails more than a walk down a trail in your local park.
Preparing yourself for a hiking trip requires getting in shape, especially if you have been a couch potato the past few months. You will want to build some back and leg strength and do some cardio to build your endurance, such as jogging or speed walking. Once this is complete, you are ready to begin the next phase.
Part of the preparation for hiking should be getting used to carrying a loaded backpack. Beginners should carry a loaded backpack around few days before the hike. However, it may be a good idea to practice with the backpack earlier than this, though. By carrying the backpack, you can judge the fit, look for areas that may irritate your body or imbalance issues.
When you are practicing with the loaded backpack, make sure some of the area you are treading is on uneven ground and even some slanted surfaces like hillsides. You should also try out different walking rhythms to find the best for your fitness level. It is a good idea to do this with the actual gear and boots you will use on the trip. Especially if you are a new beginner, prepare as realistically as possible to allow your body some adjustment time to some of the extra demands of hiking.
When the time comes for the real hike, begin slowly. Beginners often try to walk too quickly, too soon and without enough breaks. Enjoy the scenery and the peace and quiet. Pace yourself. Not only will you enjoy the experience more, you will find that you can last longer.
Avoid the temptation to climb each hill you find, especially on the longer hikes. These activities require more energy than hiking along a fairly level terrain. For all day hikes, you need to shift your mindset from a sprinter to a marathon runner. Try to conserve energy.
By preparing with practice hikes, simulating the real hike as much as possible, you will have taught your body not only what to expect but also what feels comfortable. By resting five to ten minutes every hour or so, you should be able to easily do five miles on your first hike. Eventually, the more hiking you do the more stamina you will develop for hikes much longer and without less fatigue.