Maybe you are looking to discover incredible landscapes while walking, connect with nature and feel the fresh air that surrounds you; then hiking is for you. Every day that passes more and more people are encouraged to practice this sport, but if you don't know how to start hiking, you're in the right place. It's time to get down to work with these hiking tips for beginners.
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A non-competitive sporting activity that consists of walking in the countryside, in the mountains, in natural parks..., along routes or trails, whether they are approved, signalled and beacons or not. This is the approximate definition of hiking, although you will surely find opinions for all tastes. There are people who qualify a route as hiking according to its characteristics of distance, difficulty, etc. This is a form as respectable as any other but it could make you underestimate a route for its apparent simplicity or for the large number of people who hike it, and this would be your first mistake. One of the advantages of hiking is that we have at our disposal a great variety of routes of different levels, which allows us to gain experience and physical preparation gradually.
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The practice of hiking brings a number of benefits to our body and therefore to our health. It improves muscle tone, reduces the possibility of suffering from hypertension or even reduces it, it is a great remedy against anxiety and daily stress. All this is added to the great satisfaction that we have when we get by our own means to this incredible place in the middle of nature. But although it may seem that walking is not a problem, we must not forget that we are in a changing natural environment and that each route has its particularities. That is why whenever we go out for any hiking activity, no matter how easy it may be, we must follow a series of tips and guidelines that we detail below.
Fortunately, nowadays we have available a good amount of information about the different hiking routes. This will allow us to identify which route is best suited to our characteristics and those of the people accompanying us. Minimizing the possible risks that we may encounter is vital to prevent accidents as far as possible. It is therefore important to know data such as the distance of the route, the time it takes to complete it, its slope, the weather conditions that await us, the characteristics of the terrain through which the route passes, etc ... With this information we can prepare our activity, the equipment we should take and of course know if it is an appropriate route for us.
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This is the eternal question that has almost more answers than there are people. I will give you an example, nowadays cars have their airbags, nobody buys a car with the intention of having an accident and nobody, as far as I know, asks the seller to remove the airbags and discount them because they are not going to use them. Well with the backpack something similar happens, we will have to carry things that hopefully we will not have to use but we have to carry them yes or yes. Of course we are not talking about always carrying a backpack of 12 kg of material, we are talking about the fact that we have to adapt what we carry to the type of route we are going to do. Water, food, a headlamp with batteries, a first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, appropriate clothing, map and GPS are some examples. A good friend of mine always asks me the same question before going out to the mountains: "With what you have in your backpack, could you spend the night if necessary?
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Clothing and footwear is another key point for the practice of hiking. It is not about running to the sport store and buying everything related to it, it is about equipping yourself correctly for each activity you do. You have to take into account the weather conditions that you are going to find, you will not need the same if it is summer than if it is winter. That is to say, a summer pants does not work the same in winter and vice versa. It is always important to look for clothes that dry quickly, warm clothes that compress well so that they take up little space in the backpack and of course that weigh little.
As far as hiking footwear is concerned we enter another usual battlefield, boot or slipper, waterproof or not. There are almost as many opinions as models we are going to find, particularly for an inexperienced person I would lean towards a boot. The reason, it will give us more protection to the foot and ankle against bumps, sprains or bites, surely more stability and today we can find very comfortable hiking boots and light weight. As with clothing, we will have to take into account the type of terrain and weather conditions to choose the right footwear.
Hiking poles are another ally for any hiker, they provide greater stability and reduce the workload on the legs. Of course, they are of no use if we do not use them correctly because, although it may not seem so, there are a series of techniques to make the most of them and to prevent them from becoming a useless weight.
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We have everything ready, we are already walking the magnificent route that we have planned, we must not worry... no, far from it. As we have already mentioned, the practice of hiking is conditioned by the natural environment where it takes place and during the route we must also follow a series of guidelines.
Be aware of possible changes in weather conditions, or changes that the terrain may have suffered, this may vary the level of difficulty or the degree of exposure you face. Enjoy the route, it is not a question of reducing the time indicated in the route guide.
Hydrate and nourish yourself properly, it is vital to avoid unnecessary problems. Be attentive to the condition of the people accompanying you, remember that the group is only as strong as the weakest person in it. Always let someone know where you are going, what you are going to do and at what time, more or less, you plan to return. And please respect and take care of the places you pass through, the fauna and flora that inhabit them, take all your garbage with you, if you took it there you can take it back to the nearest container.
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I hope these simple hiking tips for beginners will be your starting point and will help you to make your adventures safer and more satisfying. I also encourage you to take a look at the different articles we have available that expand on each of the sections we have mentioned here.