By Drawn to the Wild
Whenever you head off into the great outdoors for a walk or a hike, whether it is a short stroll around the local forest or a multi-day backpacking trip there are a few important things you should do or know about.
1) ALWAYS tell someone WHERE you are going and WHEN you will be back.
If you get lost, injured or something else bad happens it is vital that someone is able to find you. Tell someone where you are going so they, or emergency services know where to start looking. If they know how long you will be away for they will know when you are overdue.
2) PREPARE for the conditions.
Check the weather, research the local environment and then take the clothing and equipment with you that will protect you and keep you safe.
3) ENSURE you know where you are going, and how you will get back.
You do not want to become lost and be unable to find your way. Maps, compass, and GPS can all help you to navigate but it is important you learn the skills to use them properly. If you are unsure how to navigate then why not try joining a walking club, or go walking with a friend who can show you what to do.
4) STAY hydrated and well fed.
Walking of any type is a form of exercise and therefore can make you dehydrated if you do not drink enough fluids. Avoid alcohol and too much caffeine but drink before, during and after your walk. Your body will also be burning calories, which is great if you are trying to lose weight but you do need to ensure your body has enough energy to keep going. Healthy snacks such as dried fruit and nuts are a great source of energy and protein.
5) NEVER leave rubbish.
The great outdoors is a special place that could easily become spoiled if rubbish is left everywhere. Litter can harm wildlife and make the environment unsightly and dangerous. Take all your rubbish home with you.
6) DO NOT push yourself too hard.
If your body is telling you to rest, you should listen to it! Over exhaustion can be dangerous if you are going for a long walk and you are in the wilderness. Even a five minute break with a quick snack and a sit down can have a positive impact on your stamina. Start off with shorter walks until you feel comfortable with your abilities and know how far you can walk.
7) ALWAYS enjoy yourself.
Sometimes walks and hikes can be a challenge but the reward of succeeding is often worth the effort. However, if you are not enjoying yourself during or after your walk then something is wrong. Try adjusting where you walk, and how far you go to see if you can make your walks enjoyable. If you are walking to get/keep fit then enjoyment will keep you wanting to do more, if you are unhappy you are more likely to give up.