By Jenna Schamer, Marketing Specialist at Twin Lakes.
If you’re looking to get outside and try something new, hiking could be just the thing. Hiking is a great low-impact aerobic exercise offering benefits beyond fun and beautiful views.
Several studies have shown that hiking has a multitude of both mental and physical benefits including lowering high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
One thing that makes hiking fun is its sometimes unpredictable variables! The following tips will help make your first trip a success.
6 Tips for Beginner Hikers
1. Pick the Right Trail
Find a trail that suits your fitness level. Select one that’s a shorter distance than you can normally walk on a paved surface. Remember to pay attention to the elevation gain and be sure to add an hour for every 1,000 feet gained. After a few hikes, you’ll know what elevation changes and distance work for you.
2. Hike with a Partner
As a beginner, it is important to hike with company. Hiking with a partner not only adds to the fun but increases safety as well. Bonding over nature and sharing a new experience will be sure to bring you closer together.
3. Tell Someone You’re Going
Let someone who is not on the hike know where you are and give them an estimated time you think you’ll be done. Be certain to estimate the ‘worry time’ a few hours after you anticipate being finished because this will account for a spectacular view or a sore foot that could cause a delay.
4. Check the Weather
Always check the weather before you head out on your hike. A phone app will allow you to keep track of any threat of storms while you hike. If you drop in and out of cell service be sure to check the weather when you can.
5. Pack Essentials
There are things you need when you hike. Purchase a small backpack for hiking and pack it with the following:
- Maps – Trails tend to be clearly marked but it’s always wise to bring a backup map
- Sun Protection (hat, glasses, and sunscreen) – Although you’re in the woods the sun will find its way through the trees. Combat sunburns by carrying sun protection on your hike
- First Aid Supplies/Bug Spray – Be prepared for your new hiking boots to cause blisters or to scrap a knee. In addition to first aid items include a bug repellent.
- Food and Water – Fuel your body throughout the hike so you’ll have the energy you need to keep going.
- Extra Clothing – Oftentimes the higher up you hike the cooler it gets. Bring a lightweight jacket that’s easy to pack in your backpack.
6. Pace Yourself, Start Small
Don’t compare yourself to other hikers, rather hike at your own pace. You’ll build up to a faster speed and higher elevation the more you hike. And after all, you’re hiking to relax and have fun.
Lastly, remember to leave the trail as beautiful as you found it. Whatever you carry in, be sure to carry it out.
Jenna Schamer is a Marketing Specialist at Twin Lakes. She’s an avid hiker who has explored many national parks across the United States. Jenna inherited her wanderlust from her father John and grandmother Margaret. Together they have discovered the joy of the outdoors.
Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.