How to Not Get Tired Hiking

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There is nothing quite like tromping through the woods on a beautiful day, hearing the crunch of leaves under foot and birds overhead. Don't be fooled though. While hiking has a certain romantic appeal, it is also extremely physically demanding. In order to avoid exhaustion on your hike, you need to plan ahead, pace yourself and take good care of your body.

  • Start working out months in advance if the hike you are planning will require a lot of strength and stamina. Don't attempt a trail that will test you beyond your physical abilities. The only thing worse than being tired on a hike is finding yourself too exhausted make it back to base camp.

  • Dress appropriately. If the weather is in the 90s and you're wearing heavy jeans and a sweater, profuse sweating will exhaust you quickly. Look at the weather forecast for the day of your excursion and dress accordingly. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are recommended even during the summer to protect you from ticks, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Protection, as well as poison ivy and other pests. Choose fabrics that are breathable and that will wick away sweat.

  • Pack light. Only carry items that are absolutely essential for your hike including food, water, a map, compass, flashlight, signal whistle, first aid kit and water purification tablets. Arrange the items in your backpack such that the weight is distributed evenly.

  • Pace yourself. A hike is not a race. You should walk slowly enough that you can carry on a conversation without huffing and puffing, according to the National Park Service. Move even more slowly when you are hiking up a steep incline.

  • Take breaks. Every hour, stop and sit down for 10 minutes. Eat a snack and drink some water to boost your energy levels.

  • Eat hearty. Hiking, particularly on challenging trails, requires a tremendous amount of energy. Enjoy a large, energy-dense breakfast, lunch and dinner and eat a snack every hour to hour and a half. Good snacks include portable, relatively nonperishable items such as protein bars, trail mix and fruit.

  • Drink 1/2 to 1 quart of water or a sports drink every hour that you hike. Lethargy and tiredness are early symptoms of a hiker's nemesis -- dehydration. Drink even if you do not feel thirsty. Sports drinks are a necessity for any hike lasting more than half an hour, according to the National Park Service.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hike with at least one other companion. Give several people a map of the trail you plan to follow, your final destination and the time it should take to complete your hike so that people will know where to look for you in case of emergency.
  • If you are too tired to continue your hike, build a fire and shelter and stay put. Do not go off the marked trail looking for a shortcut back to base camp.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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