Exploring the great outdoors and all that Mother Nature has to offer can be overwhelming. Hiking can be a very tiring activity, depending on the terrain and how long you spend doing it. This leaves many beginners wondering how they can hike without getting tired.
The 7 ways to hike without getting tired are:
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat protein packed foods
- Prepare physically
- Plan things ahead of time
- Pace yourself
- Check the weather and elevation change
- Wear the appropriate clothing and shoes
A lot goes into planning a hike. By taking the time to do so, you will keep yourself safe and prevent exhaustion from taking all the fun out of your hike. Below, we’ll discuss the importance of each of the factors listed above.
7 Ways To Hike Without Getting Tired
1. Drink Plenty Of Water
Fill up your water bottle or CamelBak before you head out! It is crucial to stay hydrated, as sweating is inevitable with any physical activity. This is probably the most important step in maintaining a steady level of energy during your hike. But how much water should you pack? A good rule of thumb is about 1 liter of water for every 2 hours of hiking.
CamelBaks make it easy to not only measure your water intake, but also to carry your water on your back. These can be purchased online or in-store at your local outdoor camping shop in a variety of sizes. If you don’t have a CamelBak, don’t worry! Simply fill a water bottle, or multiple water bottles, and put them in a backpack. The less you carry in your hands, the less tired you will be!
Electrolyte-enhanced water will also help rehydrate you after a good sweat. Grab a powder packet that takes up very little space and can quickly be added to your water for instant rehydration. Liquid IV and Pedialyte offer packet options in many flavors!
2. Eat Protein Packed Foods
Be sure you bring protein packed snacks with you. Hiking requires a lot of energy and protein will help replenish all the energy you lose. Trail-mix, beef jerky, nut butters, and fruit are all perfect snacks that are full of enough calories to sustain your hike, as well as light enough to not weigh down your backpack/hiking bag. It is always better to have excess food, rather than not enough.
Therefore, depending on how long you are planning to hike for, and the type of hike you will be going on (flatland or mountainous), you will want to consume around 3,000 calories per day. If your hike will only be a couple of hours, 2-3 snacks will be plenty! However, for a full day of hiking, you will need to pack your 3 meals in addition to snacks.
3. Prepare Physically
Hiking can be physically exhausting, as you are at the mercy of Mother Nature. You could be met with many obstacles including rugged terrain, bad weather and elevation changes. While you do not need to be extremely fit to go hiking, it is important to know your physical limitations and how much of a challenge your body can take.
Luckily, many hiking trails are leveled, often using terms like “beginner,” “moderate,” or “advanced” or are color coded based on their difficulty. If you are new to the hiking world, it is best to start with a beginner hiking trail.
With experience, exercise and time spent on the trails, you can build your stamina up for an advanced trail. The most important thing is to begin with a trail that is suitable for your level of experience. By doing so, you will set yourself up for a successful, enjoyable hike!
4. Plan Things Ahead Of Time
Planning your hike is equally as important as preparing physically. Research the total length of the hike and give yourself ample time to complete it. Keep in mind that the average person walks around 2-3 miles per hour. This will help you get an idea of how long the hike will take you without stopping. However, you will want to add in additional time to eat, rest and sightsee.
When conducting your research and mentally preparing for your hike, check out the type of terrain you will be exploring. Will it be a flat and paved road? Will you be hiking up a mountain? Will you be hiking on a trail or on rugged terrain? These are all important questions you will need to answer before heading out.
Depending on the answers to these questions, you will need to give yourself additional time to complete the hike without becoming exhausted. Knowing the type of terrain ahead of time will leave you with no surprises throughout your hike.
5. Pace Yourself
When embarking on your adventure, pace yourself. Even the most experienced hikers take breaks to catch their breath and enjoy the views! Whether you are hiking alone or in a group, establish a pace that keeps you feeling strong.
Don’t stress about the pace of others or trying to keep up with your friends. By establishing your steady pace, you can reach your destination feeling energized and accomplished rather than exhausted. Take as many breaks as you need, as hikes are supposed to be enjoyable!
6. Check The Weather And Elevation Changes
Check your local weather station to see what the weather will be like during the times you are planning on heading out on your hike. This is important to know ahead of time, as it could potentially make your hike shorter or longer. Poor lack of planning could catch you off guard and you could find yourself waiting out a storm under a tree.
If you’re planning on hiking up a mountain, the weather could potentially change multiple times during your hike. With the elevation changes and the further we get from Earth, the thinner the atmosphere gets and the lower the air pressure. This is important to know as you plan your trip. When and where exactly you can anticipate a weather change will keep you safe and going strong.
Also, elevation changes will impact your breathing. If you are planning to hike up a mountain, it is important to know by how much the elevation changes. Difficulty breathing and exhaustion is caused by the decrease in the amount of oxygen molecules in the air.
It is also possible to get elevation sickness if you scale the mountain too quickly, so you will need to move slowly and provide ample time for breaks. A good rule of thumb is to allow for an additional 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet of increased elevation.
Some people are more sensitive to elevation increases than others, so keep an eye on your breathing and how you feel, and move at a pace that keeps you healthy and energized. If breathing is getting too difficult, it’s time to slow down.
7. Wear Appropriate Clothing And Shoes
Excess weight can only slow you down and have you feeling exhausted while hiking. Dressing appropriately for the occasion can really make a difference in how tired or energized you feel. Clothing and boots specifically designed for hiking are lightweight, reserving your energy for the actual trek.
Wearing hiking shoes will keep you comfortable and safe while hiking. This is because they are made for diverse, rugged terrain, creating a more balanced stance as you walk over rocks, mud, snow and dirt. Wearing 2-3 layers of clothing will ensure you are prepared for whatever weather changes come your way.
Backpacks are a great way to carry all your luggage (and trash) without having to carry items in your hands. Hiking backpacks are specifically designed to be lightweight, but also to evenly distribute the weight on your back to prevent back pain or injury while hiking.
While a great addition, hiking backpacks are not mandatory. An old backpack from your school days will also work fine! The idea is to keep your hands free while being able to bring all the necessary items for the hike. You just want to make sure nothing unnecessarily weighs you down, making you more tired than you need to be.
Hiking is a fun and thrilling experience, however, it can drain all your energy very quickly if you’re not careful! Different hikes will require varying degrees of energy exertion, depending on the weather and the terrain. By fully preparing for your anticipated hike, you can prevent exhaustion from creeping in and ruining your experience.