If you’re looking to get in better shape or simply wanting to find another activity for your active rest days, look no further than the dirt path. Hiking builds lower-body strength, activates your core, improves cardiovascular fitness, stabilizes joints, improves balance, and encourages positive well being.

But there’s more to it than simply lacing up your shoes and walking the trails, especially if your hikes pack on the distance, or if you’re looking at hiking as an intense workout.

Regardless of your experience level or the length of the hike, it takes good planning and preparation to ensure hiking safety. From Injury-prevention techniques to what to pack out with, following these simple steps can ensure an overall better hiking experience. Let’s hit the trails!

Your ‘Go-To’ Hiking Checklist

Before you head off to the trails, Bekah Quirin, hiking expert and owner of Virginia’s Valley Forest School, suggests you study the area where you plan on hiking and research these things: “Will there be river crossings?” Quirin says. “Is it well-traveled or not? Is it well-marked or do you need map/compass skills? What is the elevation gain and loss? Do you need four-wheel drive to access the trailhead?” Learning the ins and outs of your next voyage will help you better prepare and avoid any surprises. “Websites like alltrails.com are very helpful. It’s a fantastic website and app to learn all about the trails you wish to trek on.”

Group of friends crossing a river on a tree log in the forest while social distancing

5 Outdoor Activities for Body and Mind

Take your workout outside this summer to burn calories and reduce stress.

Read article