With sweeping summit views, serene lakes, or sublimely peaceful forest paths, hiking is one of the most rewarding outdoor activities.
More than just fresh air and pleasing scenery, hiking is a great way to stay healthy, promote circulation, joint health, and bone health. As part of a diet and exercise plan, hiking also contributes to weight management.
Before you lace up your boots and hit the trails for an invigorating outing, make sure you’re outfitted with the essentials.
The name is no coincidence – trail mix is perfect for hiking, thanks to its blend of nuts, dried fruits, and other goodies. These natural ingredients are portable, tasty, and they translate into footstep-fueling energy. Nuts and seeds contain beneficial fatty acids that encourage a lively hike, while dried fruit supplies fiber and other nutrients that help hikers stay trail-ready. And keep in mind that a little salt in trail mix is actually good – it replaces the electrolytes that you lose while hiking. One more tip: Store-bought trail mix can get expensive, so assemble your own trail mix from a range of ingredients… it could be more affordable – and fun!
Water and Other Beverages
While it’s important to stay well-fed on a hike, it’s even more crucial to stay hydrated.
The International Marathon Medical Director’s Association recommends that walkers drink in the range of three to six ounces of water for each mile they traverse.
Other great beverages include sports or vegetable and juice-based drinks, both of which can help hikers revitalize with electrolytes.
While some hikes include plenty of forested shade, most treks into the wilderness feature at least some significant sun exposure. Protect both your skin and eyes from harmful solar effects with sunscreen, quality sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and other specialized sun-care products.
Many supplements can benefit an avid hiker, but two that may be especially useful on the trail are Coenzyme Q-10 and B-Complex supplements. These supplements support energy metabolism, which means they help the body convert food to energy.*
First Aid and Emergency Accessories
As you enjoy the simple pleasures of being removed from modern civilization, it’s important to stay safe and prepared. At least one person on a hiking excursion should carry a first aid kit. Other useful emergency items include a solar-powered cell-phone charger, a lighter, and a water filter, which will allow you to safely drink from natural sources and remain happily hydrated.