While traveling through a road trip back down to Florida from Georgia many years ago, I had often wonder what would be like to follow the less beaten path and hike through a trail. Being a self-proclaim outdoor girl, the rhythms of nature sounds appealing; taking in the air and being amidst the greenery for the unbelievable natural views is better than staring at paperwork and knowing I have a deadline to meet.
We have hiking trails here in South Florida; most of them are located alongside a beach or a waterfront. But with the heat and the mosquitoes, I get a little discouraged from time to time. I guess my desire for a change in scenery is kicking into overdrive.
I feel like prepping for a real outdoor tour of America, you know. Perhaps, making a way to the Appalachian Trail before the cold comes in. I have to put that eventually on my to-do list.
With real trails comes real practice via an easy training to get the hips and quads in gear. In come my basic prep program and some pointers to get started. If you never been on hiking trail before or if you’re serious about stepping up your hiking game, I believe that an effective program is highly needed.
Visit your doctor first
Ask your physician before you start your physical activity especially if you haven’t been as active. Your doctor may suggest preventative measures to assist you or recommend similar programs.
Get the right gears; this means wearing the appropriate footwear [Men & Ladies] and backpack. Your feet should be comfortable in hiking boots and not pinched at the toes. Your shoulders and hips should feel strong as you sport your backpack.
Also, keep your backpack light and don’t weigh yourself down especially when you are starting out. Add what is necessary, such as a bottle of water, a first aid kit, and a few safety items like a pepper spray.
Practice and start slow with a walking program that builds on your cardiopulmonary health. After two weeks, gradually increase your distance and exertion. For example, examine the following sample schedule:
Stick with your program no matter what; just setting aside 30 to 40 minutes for your training will help you tremendously. If you don’t have access to a hiking path for training, get on a treadmill. If you can recreate by wearing your backpack, even better; the simulation can best prepare you physically.
As you get comfortable practicing your hiking routine for at least three miles in one hour, start to slowly bulk up your packing gear on your next hike. These items can include survival items, clothes, and food. Some of the items can vary in weight so be mindful not to pack too excessively. Travel as light as possible for a more enjoyable hiking experience.
If you plan on hiking a longer adventure like an all-day hike, test yourself to see if you are physically ready. If this is your first hike, I wouldn’t suggest going past a distance you’re not used to. Use an easier terrain to train on especially while training with a full backpack.
Listen to your body and evaluate your current outdoor skills. This involves having to be super honest with yourself; does your body feel ready for the hike? How is your mental and emotional state? If something were to happen expectedly, how would you react? You need a level of confidence to be able to contain your anxiety should you encounter a “block” on the road.
Brush up on any survival outdoor skills like building a fire, pitching a tent, camping overnight, using a compass, and using a first aid kit. Any survival skills that you can learn to help yourself or others if needed.
Have you ever gone hiking before? What is your most favorite part about it? Let’s talk! Post your comment!