Five tips for safe and happy hiking

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You’ve got the gear and your course is plotted, but there are few more things to keep in mind before setting off on your hike

You’ve invested in the right footwear, your clothing is set, your Fitbit is charged, and you’re ready to see what the great outdoors has to offer. You have a (sort of) good idea where you’re going, so what more could you need?

Get informed

Visit the official Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation website and social media channels to learn how you can get involved and meet others with the same interests. The Federation also shares course information on its Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Company (or not)
If it’s your first foray into the world of outdoor trekking, you may want to consider taking a friend with you the first few times. Yes, the outdoors offers the opportunity of solitude and being one with nature but having a friend by your side will also help if you get lost or have a mishap on the way. If you do go alone, make sure somebody knows your route and when you are expected to return.

Consider your terrain
Sure, you’ve planned your hike as X kilometers over Y hours, but have you factored in the terrain? Is it rocky? Is there a steep incline? Those two factors alone will add to your overall time. Are you walking to certain point and back again or will you start and finish in different places? If it’s the latter, you need to work out the logistics of getting home.

Safety first
Keep a travel-sized first aid kit with you in the event of cuts, bites, and sprains. You don’t need medical knowledge to start hiking, but it doesn’t hurt to sign up for a basic first aid course. If you think your love of hiking is something you’re going to pursue regularly, with longer hikes deeper into the wilderness, then definitely look at acquiring more in depth medical knowledge.

Food and water
Initially it can be difficult to gauge how much food and water you’ll need to carry but about half a liter of water per hour of moderate activity should be sufficient.  Eating around 200-300 calories per hour is a good ballpark figure, and it’s important to understand the nutritional breakdown of the snacks you’re taking with you. On that note, make sure you take all your trash with you. Don’t litter on the trail – it’s unkind to the environment and ruins the experience for other hikers.

Practice proper etiquette
You thought hiking was merely a case of walking through nature, didn’t you? Don’t worry, so did we. It turns out there are certain dos and don’ts of hiking and most of them center around not infringing on others’ enjoyment.

  • If you want to listen to music use headphones. Nobody wants to hear the latest hits making their feeble way out of your phone speaker.
  • Keep your conversation within your group. Keep your voice at a suitable pitch and try to avoid shouting. If other hikers are far enough away that they can’t even see you, they certainly don’t want to hear you.
  • Hikers going downhill give way to hikers going uphill. Generally, hikers going uphill may give the downhill hikers the right of way while they take a breather, but that is for them to decide.
  • Bicycles give way to hikers, although since they generally move faster hikers tend to move aside for them, but that is up to hikers.
  • Everyone gives way to horses. If someone is riding a horse on the trail, move aside and keep still so as not to spook the horse with any sudden movements.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you have an enjoyable hike, possibly develop a new and healthy hobby, and you might even expand your circle by meeting likeminded people.

Healthy Living is a frequently updated content section brought to you by the Saudi Sports for All Federation. In the spirit of supporting our #HealthyActiveCommunity, we’re sharing tips around wellness, physical activity and more!

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