Hiking is a sport, and all athletes need to be in shape. A pulled muscle or a sore back can ruin a hiking trip. So before you go, get your body ready. If you're a beginner, see the doctor and get a check up just so you know how your body, especially your heart, is doing. If you're in sad physical shape, set up a routine exercise program. You can start by biking, swimming or walking. Remember, there are no ambulances in the backcountry.
If you're already in shape, continue with your workouts and exercise routine but begin your hiking regime slowly. Start with easy day hikes. After a few days, put on a backpack and load it with five more pounds than you'll actually carry on the trial. Walk around the neighborhood to get used to it. When you're ready, take a short hike with the overweight pack. Gradually increase the distance and difficulty of the terrain. If you're not in shape, you'll not only put yourself at risk, but your fellow hikers as well [source: Backcountry Essentials].
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More Great Links
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy. "Food & Water." (Jan. 26, 2012) http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/hiking-basics/food-water
- Backpacking.net. (Jan. 26, 2012). http://www.backpacking.net/inventry.html#spring-fall-day
- Backpacking.net. "The Beginning Backpacker." (Jan. 26, 2012) http://www.backpacking.net/beginner.html
- GloboTreks.com. "12 Tips to Pack Light for Long Hikes." (Jan. 26, 2012) http://www.globotreks.com/backpacking/12-tips-to-pack-light-for-long-hikes/
- Hiking Trip Reports. "Duct Tape: The Hiker's Friend." (Jan. 26, 2012) http://www.hikingtripreports.com/2010/03/13/duct-tape-hiking/
- Lerten, Barney; Burns, Joe. "Badlands Hiker's Rescue Prompts Safety Reminders." KTVZ.com. March 5, 2011. (Jan. 26, 2012) http://www.ktvz.com/news/27094334/detail.html
- Personal Security Products Online. "Personal Protection While Hiking and Camping." (Jan. 26, 2012) http://www.personalsecurityproductsonline.com/self-defense/hiking-camping.shtml
- Smuts, Dan. "Backcountry Hiking Safety." Great Outdoors.com. June 12, 2003. (Jan. 26, 2012) http://www.greatoutdoors.com/published/backcountry-hiking-safety
- Vonhof, John. "Ten Easy Steps to Happy Hiking Feet." (Jan. 26, 2012) http://www.gorp.com/hiking-guide/travel-ta-hiking-sidwcmdev_058908.html
HowStuffWorks looks at the popularity of hiking in the U.S.