We humans might have left the wilderness for thousands of year. But the wilderness inside us never left. That's why it feels so great to be back to nature or feel the burning sensation on your muscles after day-long hiking with buddies or alone. But there are so much more to that rather than just taking cool snaps or making vlogs. When done right, hiking can be one of the most rewarding outdoor activity anyone can take part in. But there are also some preparations required.
If you jump straight into hardcore hiking without even knowing the basic tips, it can be disastrous. Like jumping into the water without actually knowing how to stay afloat let alone swimming. So have a quick look at here on How to prepare for hiking
Decide your destination
The most obvious step after you have made up your mind to go on, try yourself with hiking is actually where and how would you be making your trip. So the first necessary trip to decide where you will be doing it. There is no head-fast rule to determine it as it depends on personal preference. You could be hiking on the different trails throughout the Appalachian mountains or somewhere as far away as Vietnam or Cambodia! So, decide whether you want something more relaxed and comforting or pushing your physical and mental limits by embarking on more challenging trails.
Get Trained for hiking
After fixing your mind about your hiking destination and how you will be doing it, the next necessary step would be assessing your physical stamina for hiking. Look, there is no shame in being true to yourself. When you are on the trail, there could be so many things you can’t possibly anticipate. Like crossing a river or riding uphill. This stuff may sound fun and very exciting, but only the god and regular hikers know much energy they can take. So if you are not preparing and training yourself for the training, you are only putting yourself in danger and become a burden for your partner.
Develop Cardiovascular fitness
Hiking isn't like running an errand to a super mall where you can walk on a smooth pavement on a leisurely style. You will either be walking or jogging on rugged and untamed terrains, it will require much more stamina than you currently might have.Developing cardiovascular strength should be the first step of upping your game for hiking. For this, you can take the help of various aerobic workouts like sprinting or jogging. You can even do walking with moderate intensity as well. In short, it has to be something that will raise your heartbeats by 70%.
Make your Leg and Back Strong
Other than the cardiovascular stamina, you will need to strengthen your legs and back as well. Because these two muscles will be doing most of the heavy works of walking and carrying your bag and other stuff, if you don't train them, you will get fatigued pretty soon and quickly push your physical limits to the point of burning out yourself.
Leg workout for hiking
For strengthening the leg and back muscles, you don't need any fancy equipment other than your body weight and possibly a backpack. Get started with doing as many squats possible. If you don't have much time, doing squats is enough for building leg strength. But for a more balanced leg, you can incorporate lunges and side lunges as well.
Back workout for hiking
Pushups can be a great upper body exercise. But if you can't do no more than 1 or two, load your backpack with as many books possible and practice walking around it. Also, doing plank is good at strengthening back and your core.
Practice on short trips
Before you embark on a bigger adventure like roaming into the deep wilderness of African savannas or hiking into the Himalayas, it will be wiser if you try to see how your body and mind respond to the stress by practicing hiking. Do it into somewhere more familiar to you. You can get used to carrying backpacks and learn more about handling yourself better this way.
Bring in the best footwear
You can do everything right still mess up your whole trip if you forget or don't care much about getting a pair of hiking boots. Again, don’t’ miss to wear some best hiking insoles which will provide necessary support and comfort to your feet. Getting blisters or a sprained ankle isn't exactly a pleasurable experience but its much worse when you are into a trail and solely on yourself. So take a mental note getting a right hiking boot and well-fitted insole to avoid ruining the trip and your feet.
Gather right gears
We don't want to make the hiking trip too comfortable. But without necessary gears and provision, we will be doomed into the wilderness. So whether it's your first time or for hundredth, it's better to pack some must-have gears like a first aid kit; a compass for direction; matches for setting at night. Also having a flashlight and a knife will make you feel much safer. Lastly, don't forget to pack water and some energy bars as well!
Pack everything into a great bag
You will need a good bag for keeping your gears safe. So it has to durable and also feel comfortable as well. It will depend on how long you are planning to stay and how much stuff you will pack. You can bring the backpack to make sure it suits you when you are practicing on a familiar territory.
Your mind is your no one critique. It is constantly reminding you how many times you have let yourself down or didn't keep your promises. It can happen when you are planning for hiking too. Planning for hiking may seem a bit daunting, but once you get the hang out it, it's not much of a big deal. So try to calm your mind to get through the initial confusion and everything will fall into place
Preparing for hiking is both a mental and a physical hurdle to overcome at the same time. The list of stuff you need to make sure can seriously dissuade your mind. But the rewards of hiking is one of a kind and life-altering experience for sure. So stop overthinking and, go through the steps of How to prepare for hiking here. You may as well find yourself exploring life in the mountains of Peru or bushes of Australia!