How to get the most out of hiking:
- Footwear - Ensure that you have hiking boots or shoes that are of good quality and that are comfortable. If you happen to cross an unbridged stream, water shoes are recommended.
- Apparel - If you are hiking in warm weather, synthetic materials are a good idea - avoid cotton which absorbs sweat. Try to avoid wearing shorts since some parts of a trail may be overgrown. For cooler weather, ensure you are wearing proper clothing to avoid hypothermia or frostbite.
- Choosing a trail - Be realistic about your capabilities. If you end up picking a hike that is too long or difficult you will not have an enjoyable experience. For beginners, it's recommended that you start with a hike that's a few kilometers in length and work up from there.
- Food - For longer hikes, you may need to pack a lunch. Always carry enough water, especially on warmer days or difficult trails where your body is working harder.
- Other equipment - Daypacks are great for carrying, food, fluid, first aid kits, or extra clothes (socks or waterproof jacket) that you may need on the trail.
- Health - Hiking doesn't just offer up lovely scenery, it is excellent for cardio-respiratory fitness, muscle strength, stress relief, and can help you sleep better.
- Be aware of the weather forecast. Hiking in the ice and snow can be fun but it presents several potential dangers.
- Learn which animals live in the area and be prepared to take action if you meet up with one on the trail.
- Remember to tell someone where you are headed and your approximate return if you decide to explore a trail alone.
- West Coast Trail, BC - While this trail has the reputation for being one of the most physically challenging treks in North America, the old growth forests and beautiful craggy coastline make it worthwhile.
- The Bruce Trail, ON - Within its 885 km length, the Bruce Trail appeals to hikers of all abilities and offers up many opportunities for exploration.
- East Coast Trail, NL - Offers up 265 km of developed trail and 275 of undeveloped trail that includes coastline views, complete with lighthouses, whale watching, caribou, and a 50-metre suspension bridge.
1. DUNCAN M, LYONS M. THE EFFECT OF HIKING POLES ON OXYGEN UPTAKE, PERCEIVED EXERTION AND MOOD STATE DURING A ONE HOUR UPHILL WALK. Journal Of Exercise Physiology Online. June 2008;11(3):20-25.
2. Halvorson R. Tell Your Kids to Take a Hike. IDEA Fitness Journal. June 2011;8(6):17.
3. Hiking Downhill Has Its Own Rewards. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter. March 2005;23(1):7.
4. HIKING MAKES YOU SMARTER. Backpacker. May 2012;40(4):72-74.
5. Keller J. Trail Users Twice as Likely to Get Enough Exercise. IDEA Fitness Journal. January 2007;4(1):18.
6. Liemohn W. Hiking: An Activity for Almost Any Age. ACSM Fit Society Page. Summer2012 2012;:3.
7. Smith T. Hiking exercises your body and nourishes your mind. Running & Fitnews. May 1994;12(5):4-5.
8. Stephenson M. HIKE YOUR WAY TO YOUR BEST! BODY EVER. Shape. May 2010;29(9):164-168.