When the weather warms up, take your fitness outdoors and do something a little different.

Fancy a bit of hiking? Spring is in the air and it’s the perfect time of year to take your workout outdoors. While you can be excused for taking an extended hibernation during the cold and gloomy months, doing something active (surrounded by stunning scenery) is the perfect way to get back into the fitness habit.

Women’s Fitness Editor, Samera, conquered the Scenic Rim Trail this month and took away some handy tips from General Manager, James Pearce. So before you get hiking in the sunshine, don’t forget the following!

 

Suitable shoes

“They are probably the most important aspect of a hike,” says Pearce. Shoes that take you up mountains or through valley trails, need to be the right fit for your foot and this could take a little bit of trial and error. Find shoe with good ankle support and your preferred type of sole. Because let’s face it, getting a nasty blister three kilometres in is a total hike-spoiler.

“The biggest mistake people make is wearing a new pair of walking boots on a day hike,” says Pearce. Before you embark on a mountain (or hill, for those of us not at Everest-level, yet) make sure you’ve spent some time wearing your shoes in. Just like those heels you’ve worn around the house in your tracksuit before a night out, wearing in shoes will ensure you remain blister-free. Pearce’s last tip: Put some water repellent on your shoes, it will make for better puddle plodding and creek crossings.

Baby steps

Before you set out on a big hike, do some smaller, less challenging local walks first. Keep in mind that walking around a flat park doesn’t compare to walking up a hill so try doing some training that includes a steady incline. “When training, find a track close by that involves mixed terrain. It’s not about pace, but more so endurance and recovery,” Pearce tells us.

Pack light

There are a lot of important things to take on a hike but you may need to consider what is absolutely necessary before you set off. “Only carry what you need,” says Pearce, this means your heavy water bottle or lunchbox may need to stay at home. Important things to include in your backpack are, your phone for emergencies, a small first aid kit, two lightweight water bottles, snacks, a map, sunscreen and rain protection.

Take it in your stride

A big hike can be daunting. Pearce suggests breaking the day down into bits. “Get through each section as it presents itself. It isn’t a race. Set reasonable expectations,” he says. Some hikes are challenging for the most experienced walker, but if you take your time and take breaks, it will surprise you with what you are capable of doing.

Sugar hit

It’s important to have a number of snacks packed for a quick hit of energy. We suggest a small packet of lollies, a banana or an apple, trail mix, an energy or muesli bar, carrot sticks or celery with peanut butter. Pack snacks that don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten with one hand if possible.