One of the best things about hiking is its simplicity.
You just pick a trail and keep on walking and that’s it. You’re good to go.
But that might be looking at things too simplistically. Like other outdoor activities, there are certain techniques you can try which would help to improve your overall experience.
In the following minutes, you will learn some of the basic techniques which you can use when you go trail hiking.
So let’s go ahead now, shall we?
The Basics in Trail Hiking
1. Control Your Pace
Aim to control your pace when you go trail hiking. You don’t have to do any complicated steps in order to measure how fast you are walking.
Just aim to finish your hike in the same pace that you started it.
So, you need to start with a pace that you should be able to sustain through the whole trek. Remember, you’re not in a race, okay?
2. Adjust Your Pack
As you make your way through the trail, you will need to make certain adjustments to your pack.
Adjust the straps, harness, and hip belt.
By doing those small adjustments as you walk, you can avoid the buildup of too much stress in a single area.
3. Mix Your Manner of Walking
You should apply the way that you make adjustments with your pack with your manner of walking.
By changing your gait, you also avoid the buildup of stress in certain parts of the body.
You can change your strides from long to short. You can walk on your toes or on your heels. The variations would minimize muscle tension.
If you are using certain muscles in the same way for extended periods, you are bound to feel the strain of it.
4. Do Some Stretching
Hiking might not be as intense as other activities, but it can still take its toll on your body. You need to keep your body supple by performing stretching exercises when you are on a break.
On top of doing stretching during your breaks, you should also do it at the end of each hiking day for 15 minutes.
5. Take Frequent Breaks
It’s better to take frequent but short breaks than long infrequent ones.
Short breaks mean that there would be less time for your muscles to stiffen. Which means you would need less time in order to get started going again.
If you want to take longer breaks when it is cold, you need to wear warmer clothes.
But if you are hiking on an uphill terrain, you should try to minimize your breaks in order to keep your heartbeat constant.
6. Find Your Rhythm
When you are hiking along an uphill trail, you should find the right rhythm between your breathing and your steps.
7. Focus on Positive Thoughts
When you are hiking along a trail, you have to focus on positive thoughts.
It does not help to dwell on negative thoughts which may make you feel bad and even discourage you.
Choose a mantra and keep on repeating that to yourself, especially when you are struggling.
8. Go Loose
Loosen the hip and the sternum straps of your pack.
If those straps are too tight, then they will constrict your movement and also our breathing when you are going uphill.
9. Go on a zigzag
Will you be going through an uphill trail? If you will be, then you should consider travelling on a zigzag.
Going on a zigzag instead on a straight line will make things easier for you.
10. Use the Rest Step
When you are going uphill, you may really feel the weight of what you are carrying and the load may take its toll on you.
You can use the rest step when you are feeling really tired.
In order to do the rest step you need to lock the back leg. This will transfer the load to the joints and take it off the muscles.
11. Center of Gravity
Hiking downhill is considered easy so some people don’t think much about it. They feel that it does not really take any kind of effort to do this kind of hiking.
While downhill hiking is a lot easier when compared to going uphill, there are still some techniques which you can use in order to make it easier.
One of those techniques is to avoid leaning forward or backward when you are hiking uphill.
You need to keep your center of gravity over your legs.
12. Minimizing Stress
Once you are going downhill, try to keep your legs bent on impact. This will lessen the impact on the knees as it will be the muscles which will take on the bulk of the strain, saving your knees from too much stress.
Go for an easy hike!
With these techniques, your trail hiking experience should be a lot easier and more pleasant. Just trying all of the methods that have been listed here should give you great results.
And in case you’re looking for a good hiking trail to try, then you should definitely read this article next.
But before you do that, be sure to get your copy of our free hiking checklist first.