Hiking is an incredible way to clear the mind. Reconnecting with nature, and doing so through movement and exercise, is a wellness double whammy. Without the bustle of daily life, the trails on a hike are a path to a calmer and happier day. But there are ways to make hiking even more enjoyable– all it takes is a bit of preparation.
Plan a Route
While wandering out into the forest or mountains can be an incredible experience, it can also be risky. Especially if you’re an inexperienced hiker, do some research before embarking on your stroll. Apps and websites like AllTrails provide detailed routes, trail guides, and reviews so that you know what you’re getting into.
Dress for the Occasion
There’s nothing worse than dressing wrong for a hike. A good rule of thumb is to think about layers. On a very hot day, bring a backpack and throw in a long sleeve shirt. You never know how quick weather can change. In cold weather, wear multiple layers and ask you work up a sweat you can adjust as necessary.
Footwear is also important. Supportive shoes that lock in your ankle and provide good grip will help you avoid nasty spills on particularly rocky terrain.
Dehydration is no joke. Always fill up a big bottle of water and bring it in a backpack or carry it along by hand. Regardless of weather or intensity of your excursion, you need water to stay well-oiled and comfortable.
While hiking with a friend or group is a great social activity, hiking alone is also a beautiful thing. Always tell a trusted friend or family member before you go solo. There isn’t anything inherently dangerous about a hike, but it’s always good that someone knows where you are in case your phone dies or you twist an ankle.
Hiking is about being in nature. Reconnecting with the natural world requires you to be aware and observant. So put the phone in your back pocket and look around you as you walk.
Notice the trees swaying in a light breeze. Identify those tracks in the dirt. Let a ladybug pass unfettered along your shoulder. Often, you’ll find that this awareness quiets your thoughts and relaxes your body. Nature is a powerful wellness tool.