6 tips to get the most out of your hiking experience.
In the summer and early fall, hiking and spending time outdoors is a favourite way to pass free time. This year, to celebrate Canada 150, Parks Canada is offering a complimentary visitors pass to all parks across Canada. This is a great way to explore some new areas and get outside. The Ottawa region has many great hiking and nature trails to explore. Before heading out, follow these six simple tips to get the most out of your experience.
Bring Proper Nutrition
If you are going out for a long hike, you are going to need energy. Be sure to pack small snacks that you can eat on the go. Take healthy energy rich foods such as fruits, nuts, or seeds. Homemade energy balls are another great snack to bring along. Hiking and bringing lunch is a great way to spend a day. Remember to always take your garbage with you or dispose of it in a proper waste receptacle if provided.
Drink Lots of Water
Hydration is key to any physical activity especially when it’s performed outdoors. Remember to bring water and take regular breaks for drinks. Being outside and being active are two factors that increase the amount of water you need to consume in a day. Factor this in and drink extra water on these days. Normal water intake is 2-3 L per day. Expect to increase that amount when out hiking.
Apply and Reapply Sunscreen
Hiking means exposure to the sun, even on overcast days. Bring sunscreen and apply to protect your skin. Remember to reapply every couple of hours to provide continuous protection. When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to choose one with a minimum SPF of 15.
Think About Your Feet
Proper shoes will depend on the type of hiking you are doing. In general, you will want a supportive shoe with a stable sole and cushioning. If walking or hiking on paved trails or boardwalks, a running shoe will provide the support you need. If you are looking to do trail hiking or any climbing, consider investing in a proper hiking shoe or boot to give you the proper support you need.
Consider Custom Orthotics
Custom made orthotics also help to support the foot and help minimize the risk of sore feet after a day spent on the trails. Custom orthotics are built to support your unique foot through every step and can be especially helpful when out hiking. They are intended to fit into your shoe to improve alignment and correct foot function to enhance the performance and biomechanics of the feet and body.
Pack It Light, Wear It Right
Often, when we find ourself out on the trails, we are carrying a bag. When choosing a pack, pick one with lots of small pockets that has some cushioning support and straps that secure the pack around you. Bring just what you need, extra stuff means extra weight. After a while, it will affect your back.Your pack should be less than 15% of your bodyweight. For a 150 lb person, this means a maximum of 22 lbs. Use the pockets to help distribute the weight evenly and pack the heaviest things on the bottom.
Hiking is an excellent way to get out and explore new regions or revisit a favourite spot. Staying injury free all season helps to ensure you can enjoy the time spent on the trails to the fullest. If you find yourself with aches and pains, consult your chiropractor and/or massage therapist. They can help get you back to exploring all the Ottawa region has to offer.