Hiking is an outstanding form of exercise with numerous benefits. It not only keeps you physically fit, but it can also be a great form of stress relief. It allows you to get back to nature and enjoy the great outdoors. Here are a few tips that can make hiking a safe and enjoyable activity.

Be respectful
Being respectful of other hikers and the natural habitat of the trail is an integral part of being a responsible outdoorsman. Avoid leaving the original trail as this may disturb the habitat of animals. Don’t leave trash or fruit peels behind. Whatever you bring with you to the trail needs to go with you when you leave. You’re hiking to enjoy nature, so leave your music at home.

Choose a beginner’s hike
The first mistake a rookie hiker can make is picking a hike that has too much climbing or is too long.

As a beginner, stick to trails that are under five miles and have minimal to no climbing. Getting into hiking should be fun; if you overexert yourself on your first hike, you’re not going to want to continue hiking. If you’re not physically in shape, taking on trails beyond your physical capabilities can lead to injuries.

If you eventually intend to take on a lengthier trek, you may want to create an exercise plan which adds one or two miles each week. Building up your strength and endurance will allow you to focus on nature and enjoy the outdoors while hiking rather than struggling to finish.

Choose beginner’s gear
One great aspect of hiking is that as a beginner, you don’t need any special equipment.

There’s no particular dress code while hiking; however, you’ll want to wear clothing that is comfortable and designed for activity. It’s best to wear pants to prevent your legs from getting scratched by brush and keep ticks and other insects from feasting on you. It’s also important to wear shoes with tread or hiking boots if you have them. It is also recommended that you have a backpack containing water for proper hydration, extra layers, and snacks. Though it’s optional, a camera is also a great addition to your pack.

Pace
As you start on your hike, take your time, and reserve your energy. Set a pace that you can comfortably maintain. A hike is not a race to the finish, so there’s no need to rush.

Don’t go alone & Let someone know
It is safest to go hiking with others rather than hiking alone. Having someone with you who can go for help or perform first aid is always a good idea. 

Make sure to let someone know where you’re hiking and how long you plan to be out on the trail. This can be a real lifesaver if you become lost or injured while hiking. When you return from your hike, let people know that you’re safe and back from the trail

Hiking can be an adventure as long as you’re safe and well prepared. You’re likely to come away from the experience with stories and photos that make others want to join you on your next hike.