Professional Hikers: How to Stay Safe on the Mountain Trails

For many people, nothing beats the excitement of taking an epic hiking adventure. The stunning views from atop the mountain peak will forever hold a special place in your heart. While your main goal is to have fun, safety should also remain a top priority. Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind.

Train Your Body

If you’ve been inactive for a while, be sure to train your body for at least three weeks. Mountain hiking is a strenuous activity that requires strength and endurance. Strong muscles will definitely help you to avoid getting injured. To get your cardio up to par, go for a 45-minute run at least three times a week. Meanwhile, performing around 100 pushups a day will help further enhance stamina.

Prepare to Encounter Wildlife

When hiking, you’re bound to encounter wildlife at some point. While squirrels and deer are typically harmless, you must be especially cautious around beasts such as bears and cougars. The best approach is to stay on marked trails at all times. Veering off the beaten path makes you far more likely to get into a troubling situation. It’s also advisable to keep your head on a swivel. Remaining aware of your surroundings gives you a better chance of dodging danger.

Always Bring a Compass and Map

These days, GPS has become the go-to choice for a lot of travelers. Unfortunately, satellite-based navigation systems aren’t always reliable. To avoid getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, be sure to pack a compass and an old-school map. Not only will these two items help you to keep track of your location, but they also aren’t affected by the weather conditions.

Stay Energized

Research shows that far less oxygen is available at high altitudes. Don’t be surprised to find breathing a bit more difficult. To keep your energy levels up, be sure to bring along supplemental portable oxygen products. This will enable you to steadily elevate without becoming prematurely fatigued.

Break-In New Shoes

A lot of hikers overlook the importance of breaking in their new shoes. Because new trail shoes tend to be a bit stiff, they put you more at risk of suffering foot injuries and losing your balance. Before you go hiking, walk around in your new shoes for a few days.

There’s no overlooking the joys that come with hiking. However, don’t lose sight of what’s really important. As the old saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

About the Author:

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. Twitter: @LizzieWeakley Facebook: facebook.com/lizzie.weakley

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