5 Ways to Make Hiking a Healthy Habit This Summer
Summer is the perfect time to start expanding your exercising habits; winter is the time for the gym and indoor workout areas, but in the summer, when the sun is out, take advantage and go outside to get your active side going. Walking around the city is an excellent way to start, but to up the difficulty, hiking is perfect. You can choose the elevation gain, the landscape you see, and how long you go for. However, hiking can be harder to make into a habit; it usually is not a super short drive and requires more planning than a simple gym trip. Here are five ways to make it habitual this summer:
1. Make it a regular activity
As I mentioned, hiking takes more planning than simply driving to the gym; if you are lucky and have hiking trails in your backyard, this can still apply to you. But for those who live in the middle of a city, going outdoors and driving on a hike takes a lot of time out of the day, so have a plan. Find a day in your schedule that you can regularly find a hike to go on, maybe a weekend activity, even just one day out of the week is good. Be sure that you can continuously use this day for a hike and stick to it.
2. Explore new trails
Do some research, look online for hikes around you that people have reviewed, and match the level you are looking for. You can absolutely stick to the same hike every time; however, it can make it easier to make hiking habitual if you switch up the trail every once in a while to get a change of scenery. If you have an outdoorsy friend, even better, ask them what hikes they have liked in the past and check them out.
3. Go with a group of friends
Hiking is fantastic alone, especially when you need quiet, mindful time to yourself. Hiking alone is great for healing your mind and a benefit when it comes to mental health. However, going with a group of friends does not eliminate those benefits. If you find it difficult to go alone, finding people who love hiking as much as you do is a motivational factor, plus you have someone to talk to while hiking, which can turn into a social activity. When you are hiking alone, or with a group, you are outside getting fresh air off electronics, so mental and physical health benefits are still at play.
4. Set a goal
Goals are the best form of motivation. If you are replacing going to the gym with going on a hike, it can be helpful to have a goal to strive for. You can time yourself doing a hike and try to go faster each time you make that trail. Or you can add mileage every time, anything to keep you getting back on the trail.
5. Pace yourself
Let’s say it’s your first hike ever; I wouldn’t recommend finding a long hike with constant elevation gain. Know your beginning level and work up to more challenging hikes. I would also recommend not starting the hike sprint walking because you still have to walk back and don’t want to wear yourself out early on. Start at a steady quick pace that you can maintain throughout the hike.
Hiking is a free activity; there are no real rules; these are just hopeful guides so that your next hike goes smoothly and you can fall in love with the activity and make it a regular thing you spend your time doing.
Get hiking and have fun!