Hiking for fun, fitness and social enhancements
Mental and physical health are both brought to you in active hiking in the nearby hills or mountains. You can join a club (recommended) or just go it alone. What could be better than a hike for pleasure – especially with family, friends, and/or a pet that can handle it.
Whether you live in the city or the country, there are plenty of places you can hike. City parks, national forests, state parks....usually have an abundance of hiking trails to choose from. And best of all...they are FREE.
You should get the right gear
If you don't have certain gear, you are doomed to have trouble. Sturdy shoes with aggressive lug soles, a hat for sun protection, water or other liquids for thirst, and snacks for fuel such as power bars, granola bars, or dried fruit and nuts. Hiking sticks are also useful and helpful.
Longer hikes or overnights trips require more things and a well-fitting pack to carry it all. You can get advice on buying the best equpment from an outdoor store such as the one on our website. You can also rent equipment to see what works best.
Regular hikes should be part of your routine
Making a commitment to regular hikes, especially with other people increases the likelihood that you will actually do them. You can plan shorter, closer, once-a-week hikes or longer weekend hikes when you have the time for greater distances.
A good way to improve your fitness and feel a sense of success is to set your sights on steeper and longer trails. You might want to climb a mountain or walk a historic route. Being in a hiking club is very helpful as there are scheduled hikes by skilled hiking leaders who will not only plan good trips, but help you with your safety and comfort needs.
Buy books or read articles
You can go to your local sporting goods store and find books about hiking and guides with maps to help you find those trails in your particular area. A little research ahead of time can be very inspiring. And, let's not forget the Internet. You can find endless resources on the Internet pertaining to hiking trails, gear, information...whatever you are seeking.
Selecting a hiking club is a big step in the right direction. The type of club you want depends on you. Some clubs have backpacking and camping as part of their routine, where others are more casual. Some may cater to older members while others may be for the youth. I can recommend MeetUp.com as a resource to find a hiking club anywhere in the United States or for that matter, in the world. We have a meet up hiking club right here in Los Angeles, and we schedule about 15 hikes per month of varying levels…beginner, intermediate or advanced. One common comment that we always get from our membership of 4000 people is how much fun they had, and how they like meeting new people and having great conversations.