Hiking is a great leisure sport, especially if you like to be in the countryside or the mountains. The best is, it’s equally suitable for almost everybody, no matter your age or gender. Compared to tennis and ice hockey, hiking as a new hobby is quite easy to learn. And yet there are a few facts about hiking that every hiker – especially as a beginner – you should know and consider.
You should know…
…that rain, wind, and other weather conditions are all part of the game.
To enjoy hiking, it is not bad if smaller rain showers accompany hiking pleasure.
The main idea is not so much that you toughen up against all kinds of weather conditions, but rather the indication that you should not wait for the perfect conditions to go on a hike.
Depending on where you live, if you only leave the house on a sunny but not too hot Sunday, you might go out of the house for a hike three times a year. Oh, but only twice, because Grandma also wants to be visited.
Especially in dreary weather and on days when gray is the predominant color, a hike in nature can be very refreshing, increase your mood, and maybe you will experience your surroundings differently than usual.
… that nature is not a dump
Our planet is already polluted enough – then, especially while hiking, it is incomprehensible to me that still, that so many people dispose of their plastic waste along the way.
Please leave any things that are packed in plastic at home or, if it should be a chocolate muesli bar on the go, then stow the plastic waste safely in your pockets, take it home with you and recycle it there correctly.
… that your clothes can get dirty sometimes
During a hike in nature, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you might encounter one or the other muddy rain puddle, maybe stumble over a root.
The most beautiful and expensive trousers that you would like to put on again tomorrow in the office are therefore not suitable for today’s hike.
Sounds logical, doesn’t it? I want to mention it anyway because I have already observed some hikers who were just out with their best Sunday trousers and meticulously careful not to get dirty with every step. Of course, this can kill a lot of fun.
… that altitude is more exhausting than flat land
Very often, people underestimate the altitude profile when they go for a hike. Therefore, when planning your route, you should look at the corresponding altitude profile in addition to the distances.
When the height profile is rather flat, and there are only slight differences in altitude, you can plan longer distances.
If the altitude profile is more like a heart rate measurement, you can prepare yourself for an exhausting tour, in which you will work out properly and will cover less distance overall.
… that fresh drinking water is one of the most important things you should pack.
Instead of unnecessarily stuffing your hiking backpack with all sorts of things, you should concentrate on the drinking water in addition to protecting against the cold.
Your body uses significantly more water while you hike and sweat than you are used to in everyday life.
You should keep hydrated to avoid nausea, dizziness, and other symptoms of dehydration.
Tip: Small drinking breaks at short intervals of 45 minutes, for example, are more effective than a single liter to keep your fluid balance at a level because the body can absorb a regular water supply easier.
… food tastes up to 35% better on hikes
This applies especially to freeze-dried food and energy bars. If you don’t believe it, you can simply check it yourself.
As your body used a lot of calories to reach your destination, you will be hungrier than usual. Being outside also stimulates our mind and body in a way that we enjoy the food more.
… that hiking can bring you in shape
Anyone who hikes not only burns about 500 calories per hour. It also strengthens his core and leg muscles. At the same time, the bone density adapts to the load you are carrying and becomes more stable.
This effect can be increased almost arbitrarily by the weight of the backpack and the gradient of the route.
… that it gets dark in the evening
Yeah, it gets dark in the evening. In summer between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. and during the winter from about 5:00 p.m. Trees and dense branches make it appear pitch-black much earlier in the forest.
Although this hint will surely make some people smile, it should not be missing on this list.
Because hikers who underestimate the distances are “suddenly” surprised by the darkness without a flashlight and carefully grope their way hand in hand to the next parking lot are not uncommon.
Therefore, my tip: Either take a flash and/or a headlight with you (check batteries/accumulator beforehand), start earlier so that the end of the route can be reached without any problems before nightfall, or choose a shorter hiking trail when planning the route.
… more than a third goes for the fame
According to a survey on thetylt.com, 63.4% of the participants only hike for fun and to enjoy nature.
36.6%, on the other hand, are mainly on the go to later post the perfect picture on Instagram. The number of participants in the survey is not given; nevertheless, we can assume that social media has now also conquered Greenland’s swamp areas.
Especially in summer, when the sun is just above the horizon for a long time without going down. Perfect for backlit pictures in a teal and orange look.
… hiking improves your atention span
Did you see it? There is a typo in the word attention span. If it has slipped through, it may be a good time to take a lap in the country.
Studies suggest that we are more focused afterward.
… hiking is standardized
Are we still going for a walk, or are we already hiking? Anyone who has never had an answer to this question can now be one step ahead.
According to the study on the future market for hiking, the average duration of a walk by the entire population – i.e., both hikers and non-hikers – is given as 1:22 hours. The average length of a hike, on the other hand, is 2:39 hours.
Other features of a real hike are the use of the appropriate infrastructure, prior planning, and the use of hiking-specific equipment.
… hiking helps with applications
While gaps in your CV are often not so well received, according to a US recruiter, the opposite is true for long hiking projects.
For example, anyone who has hiked along the Appalachian Trail shows that they are tough and persistent, achieve ambitious goals, and have no problem not taking a shower for days.
Depending on the job posting, you can quickly catapult yourself into the circle of desired candidates.
… that mania for cleanliness is out of place in nature
Similar to clothing, it is the same with all other situations, circumstances, and material materials: A little dirt is part of it.
So sometimes the bread roll falls out of your hand during a leisurely break? No problem, because the roll is still edible after it has touched the forest floor.
In the same way, fallen trees and smaller rocks can be used as a table and/or seat. It’s very amusing to see hikers who need a plastic base for every little thing.
… that not forget to walk a bit barefoot.
In many outdoor specialist shops and other expert circles, there is always talk of “sturdy shoes” to protect the feet from stones, branches, and other ground conditions and also to stabilize the ankle.
However, sturdy footwear is not natural.
The most natural form of locomotion is walking barefoot, which – like many things in today’s society – is unfortunately frowned upon. Anyone who walks barefoot in the city receives angry, shocked, and judgemental looks.
But if you regularly run barefoot, you strengthen the footbed, the bones, the joints, the muscles, shift the weight to the balls of your feet instead of to your heels and additionally protect the spine.
…that hiking can be addictive
It’s a fact that addiction is generally not a bad thing. There are bad types of addictions, such as gambling addiction, alcohol addiction, coffee addiction, nicotine addiction, and consumer addiction!
Of course, work should be done to avoid these types of addiction or not to give these types of addiction, the opportunity to sneak into your own life.
In addition to the bad types of addiction, there are also good qualities that you can be addicted to, such as the addiction to help other people, the addiction to exercise, and the addiction of sharing.
And just as it can be addicting, for example, hiking every weekend to admire the magnificence and beauty of nature and soak up its magic. The spiritual aspects can be just as addictive when hiking as the sporty, enduring aspects.