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Taking Up Hiking? Some Essential Tips

Jul 21, 2008
Are you thinking of taking up hiking? It?s certainly an exhilarating activity and some even describe it as spiritual but due to the nature of the activity there are some things to keep in mind. Here are some tips that are key to hiking.

Hiking requires you to keep a pace and take short rest periods about once an hour. You?ll burn many more calories and require more hydration than ordinary walking. The terrain of rocks, slippery ground and steep slopes makes hiking more physically demanding. The higher altitude also has an effect since you have to do more work to fight gravity and when oxygen levels drop your heart has to do more work to pump more blood.

You?ll need about a liter of fluid for every hour of hiking and more if the climate is warm or you?re exerting yourself more than usual. Bringing enough water or electrolyte drink is essential and while it will be heavy to carry at first, the weight decreases as you drink it.

Hiking in high altitude terrain can be more interesting and exciting than hiking in the low, well-trodden paths of the foothills but you?ll need more stamina and physical ability. The best way to ensure you?re not over exerting yourself is by monitoring your heart rate. The target heart rate varies depending on your age, weight and physical health but ranges from 70 beats per minutes resting to 120 per minute while working out. You can take your pulse manually or use a heart monitor to keep track. Keeping your heart rate at a normal level will also help you avoid High Altitude Syndrome or Acute Mountain Sickness which will make you dizzy and have a headache at the very least.

Make sure you bring gear that suits the terrain and environment. Your hiking boots should be waterproof to help keep your feet dry and problem-free. Also bring a backpack that is made of water resistant material to keep your provisions and other equipment dry.

Above everything else, use common sense and prudence. While you want to challenge yourself, you don?t want to put yourself in harm?s way. Taking a dangerous shortcut could lead to injury or at least loosing your way and requiring you to backtrack. The wilderness is not a place to let your ego get the best of you so don?t take risks that can put your life in danger.

Keeping hydrated, pacing yourself by keeping track of your heart rate, bringing proper gear and using common sense is essential to hiking. These key tips will get you started in this exciting and exhilarating activity.
About the Author
Peter Wilson publishes most often for http://www.alicante-spain.com , an online site covering information on cheap all inclusive holiday in costa blanca . On his site one might find out more about his writings on costa blanca apartment and holiday villas costa blanca.
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