For the edification of unfit hikers (like me).
I have a good bit of experience with hiking while unfit – meaning not in great shape, a little chubby, and, as my doctor puts it, “Exercise Intolerant.”
Someone in a facebook group asked about tips for new hikers and I thought I’d put in some notes on hiking in a physical condition similar to mine (which is old, in the shape of a little round, and mostly sedentary job). So, I went out and Hiked and did a video.
Here is a summary of the tips (watch video for more!)
- Wear the right shoes, especially for longer hikes. Tennis Shoes, trainers, etc may be great on pavement, but conditions on the trail often demands footwear more tailored to the environment.
- Wear the right clothes. Avoid cotton, denim, etc – go for moisture wicking, lightweight, quick drying materials.
- Hydration and Water. I say hydration first, because sometimes plain water just doesn’t cut it. You are depleting vitamins and minerals as well.
- Work up to the hike you want to do. Prep and Train. If you’re going to do a 5 mile hike, start by walking a city park walking trail for 5 miles. Then a 2.5 mile nature hike, until you can do it twice without too much discomfort.
- Hike your own Hike – dress to complete the hike, not a fashion magazine. Don’t compare yourself to other hikers – unless it is for setting goals you will continue to work towards. Don’t quit, train.
- For longer hikes in the woods, use a map or app – navigation apps like AllTrails or Gaia may help you stay on trail when the trail isn’t very obvious.
- Plan your exit – do the hard parts first, so the hike back out is easy and lets you wind down from the hike / exercise.
Bonus Tip: Use hiking poles / Trekking poles, etc. They help maintain balance and take a little of the work off your legs. Down side is you can’t film yourself while using them… so you need a camera person along on your hike if you VLog them… lol.
And, Finally, some Bonus, all-around tips for Hiking :
- Listen to Your Body: Always be mindful of how your body is feeling. If something doesn’t feel right or if you feel too fatigued, take a break or consider turning back. It’s okay to push your limits, but safety should always be a priority.
- Snacks: Bring energy-boosting snacks like trail mix, energy bars, and fruits. They can be a lifesaver when you start feeling low on energy.
- First Aid Kit: Always pack a small first aid kit. It doesn’t have to be extensive, but basic items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and blister patches can be useful.
- Inform Someone: Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. This is a safety precaution in case something unexpected happens.
- Take Breaks: Remember, it’s not a race. Take regular breaks, especially if you’re feeling winded or tired. Enjoy the scenery, take photos, or just relax for a moment.
- Check Weather Conditions: Before heading out, always check the weather forecast for the day. This can help you prepare accordingly, whether that means bringing a raincoat, extra water, or avoiding the hike altogether in case of severe conditions.
- Wildlife: Remember that when hiking, especially in more remote areas, you’re entering the habitat of various wildlife. Research the animals in that area and know what to do in case of an encounter.
Lastly, remember to always celebrate every achievement, no matter how small. Every hike is a testament to your spirit and determination. Keep exploring, stay safe, and enjoy the great outdoors!