Hiking is a great workout and is for people of all ages and athletic ability. All you really need is a place to go and a desire to do it. Of course good footwear and the Ten-Essentials are also good to have on your hike.
Selecting a Trail
If you’re just starting out in hiking, it’s a good idea to start off with a few level trails that are fairly easy and short. Look for trails in your local city park or trails that have multiple enter and exit points (you can also just hike a small portion of a longer trail). Once you’ve conquered a few of these trails you can move on to longer more strenuous trails, and even overnight hikes.
Make sure to check the local weather forecast before heading out on your hike. Be prepared to deal with any changes in the weather that may occur while out on your hike. Even on a sunny day it’s a good practice to pack a rain jacket and some extra socks. The Ten-Essentials is a good list to review when packing your daypack before your hike. Whenever possible go on your hike with a friend or group of hikers and know where you are going and how long it should take. Tell a neighbor or other friend this information as well.
Whether your going a short or long hike, you should always do a few stretches first to loosen up your muscles so you don’t pull or strain them. Hiking trails are full of obstacles such as roots, rocks, hills and fallen trees and branches. You may have to climb over, or under, and number of things along your path. Always pickup your feet, otherwise you could accidentally trip over a root or rock and twist your ankle.
Leave No Trace
What ever you take with you on your hike should come back out with you, “Pack out what you Pack In”. Take a bag with you to put your garbage in and dispose of it in a trashcan along the trail or in the parking lot. If there is no trashcan then take the garbage home with you and dispose of it there.
Don’t pick flowers, brake branches or harm the woods in any way. You’ve come to enjoy everything this trail has to offer so leave it the way you found it for other hikers.