The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and the mountains are calling. Before you hit the trails this spring, keep the following tips in mind to ensure a good start to your hiking season.
- It’s a good idea to perform a few weeks of pre-season exercise to get ready for hiking. This could include walking, bicycling, swimming, elliptical, or any combination of aerobic activities to build your endurance.
- Treadmill walking on an incline, especially with a light backpack, can be very helpful. This activity most closely simulates hiking and will give you the most specific adaptations.
- Choose an easy to moderate trail for your first hike of the season and use good judgement when you decide how long to hike for the first time. If you haven’t hiked for six months, then don’t hike 10 miles your first time out for the season!
- It’s best to start your hikes earlier in the day to avoid hot afternoon temperatures. Additionally, if you are hiking at higher altitudes, it’s a good idea to get off the mountain by early afternoon in order to avoid thunderstorms.
- Watch for wildlife and give animals plenty of room. Talk with a park ranger or volunteer about the types of animals you may encounter on the trail and how to behave if you do cross paths.
- Be a good steward of our beautiful trail systems. Staying on marked trails not only preserves the landscape and prevents trail erosion, but it will keep you safe and prevent you from getting lost.
- Always hike with a buddy!
- Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, a map and/or compass, and light layers. Expect changes in weather conditions, especially if you are hiking at higher elevations.
Being prepared will keep you safe, healthy and injury-free. Most importantly, it will help you have fun! If you have any concerns about your fitness for the upcoming hiking season, please contact us. Our skilled therapists will perform a comprehensive examination and help you to develop a tailored exercise program to get you ready to explore our great outdoors!