Does the idea of hiking sound exciting to you? You like the idea of getting out in nature, seeing the beauty of the wilderness, but you haven’t hiked in years and you are nervous? That’s okay! We applaud you for wanting to get out there. That’s awesome.
First– pick an area to hike that is family friendly. Even if you are going alone, a family friendly area will be basic then, let’s say, something with a steep trail of unstable gravel. There is NO SHAME, I repeat, there is no shame in hitting up a completely flat trail that circles around a pond. The point of hiking is not “I’m so strong, I can do this super hard and scary trail”. The point of hiking is to get outside, see something pretty and enjoy the outdoors. Don’t make it harder then it needs to be.
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Second– you don’t need to go to an outdoor store and buy $200 hiking boots. Do you have a pair of running/walking shoes? Something you use for running errands, doing yard work, dancing to zumba? You can use these shoes. They may get muddy or dusty, so keep that in mind, but you will not need something with a high ankle when you are starting off. I am not an expert hiker like my husband, but even so, I just wear my cross training shoes when I hike, unless I’m on a big mountain like Rainier or Elbrus where a boot was needed because of temperature and snow. I climbed Mt. Olympus in Salt Lake City and Mt. Fuji in Japan in a lower cut hiking shoe. It wasn’t above the ankle. Breaking in new boots can be painful, so when you are just starting out, keep it simple. Don’t buy expensive boots.
Third– you don’t need to be a speed demon. Yes, you may be in last place on Strava, but who cares! This isn’t a competition. Are you a competitive person by nature? I am! That’s okay. Just know that in the beginning you will not be the fastest, and that’s OK. If being on top of the list on Strava is important to you, then use this as a goal. Join the Hikercize program and we can help you get faster. Don’t go fast!
Fourth– Reward yourself! I know that may sound silly but you need to reward yourself when you are starting a new program. It can be something as simple as a new pair of socks, or your favorite iced tea drink. Don’t reward yourself with a donut or chocolate cake. Do reward yourself with a nice soak in the tub. Pick up your favorite magazine at the grocery store. Buy that new trail mix you’ve had your eye on. Spoil Yourself!
Congratulations on taking the first step to get healthy through hiking. Hiking is something you can do your entire life and can truly lead to youthful exuberance.