People that are new to hiking aren't just doing it for the amazing views or to brag about the summit views but are also doing it for their own health. Over the past few years there has been a massive increase in people hiking for health with thanks to the Live Well scheme from the NHS and the Walking for Health organisation. People of all ages, with all types of disabilities are finding the confidence to go walking and hiking and are getting healthy because of it. So we thought we would come up with four tips for you to follow to help you get a little bit healthier while exploring the great outdoors....
Wear the right equipment
Before you hit the trails make sure you're wearing the right equipment and that you're carrying the right equipment. Whether you're walking in a big group or by yourself you should always carry and/or wear the following items:
Waterproof Jacket and Trousers
First aid kit
Water bottle or hydration bladder
Map and Compass
Walking Boots and Shoes
Start nice and slow
The key thing to remember is it’s not a race! When you're walking in a group you will soon realise that everyone walks at their own pace so start nice and slow to build up your "hiking legs", don’t push yourself too much. With this gradual approach you will soon find that you can go further and for longer. This is also a brilliant way to boost your confidence and the confidence of other people in your walking group.
Motivation is key
To get the real benefits of hiking you will need to stay motivated so make walking a habit. Walk to work or walk to the shops. Mix it up as well, don’t just walk the same old routes, explore new paths, trails and woodlands. And lastly one of the biggest ways of getting motivated is to join a walking group (if you haven't already), it’s a brilliant way to socialise with people and before you know it you will be running up the hills!
It’s all about setting goals
So you have the right equipment, you're building your confidence, you walk every day and have joined a walking group, the final step is to set yourself goals and then smash them! Try not to copy other peoples goals, make sure you personalise them to your needs because everyone hikes at different paces and speeds. You wouldn't set a goal to climb Ben Nevis in under four hours if you have never even walked up it before so try to be realistic with your goals, make them attainable but still challenging.
Just remember, don't push yourself too quickly, it's all just about getting healthier in a fun and beautiful environment! Happy hiking!