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Health Tips for Hiking - View video on hiking Appalachian Trail

Updated on June 21, 2016
Kristine Manley profile image

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.


Once a month I go hiking. When I began I made the mistake of going on a hike that was rated strenuous - OUCH! On the trail I was hurting from my head down to my feet. A friend invited me, but did not tell me how to have a successful hike. I in turn, invited someone and that person has never gone hiking with me since. That first hike was not a very pleasant experience for me at all, but it did not deter me from going hiking again. I decided to become an educated hiker.

  • What I did know was that my feet come first, so I looked for a really comfortable hiking shoe, or some like hiking boots, that fit my needs. I hike in rocky hard terrain and in wet terrain so I needed hiking shoes that would accommodate both hiking terrains. My hiking shoes had to repel water and the soles of the shoe needed to be stiff and have deep treads that would minimize slipping. I needed to have toe guards and arch supports to help cushion if on rocky, hard terrain. Heel mudguards are good and stop mud and water from hitting my calves while walking. I learned that I needed to hike in thick socks as well and as to be able to move my toes freely within my shoes. To keep my feet nice and secure I purchased hiking shoes that lace up and have a gusseted tongue.
  • I used to wonder why other hikers had these sticks or poles with them. When I purchased one I found out why - hiking sticks or trekking poles are great on down hill hikes because they take a lot of stress off of the knees. They are good for trails that have ratings of moderate or higher.
  • Don't try to be cute and wear form fitting clothes, and they should not be cotton either. Cotton absorbs your sweat and holds it. Get polyester that will not hold sweat and allow it to slip away. Make sure your clothes fit loose so air can flow.
  • What to eat and drink during your hike? Glad you asked. High calorie snacks are great for hiking. Why? With any exercise the body burns calories which are measured in units of energy. The more strenuous the exercise the more energy you'll burn or the more calories you'll burn. So with that in mind buy snacks that have high calorie counts so your body can burn off those calories as you hike. I also learned that body weight and what type of pack you carry while hiking has a lot to do with how many calories you burn. Visit this link for more on burning calories while hiking - Granola, Oats/Other Grains, Raisins, and Peanuts/Other Nuts (GORP) is said to be a great snack that energizes the body while hiking. To drink I bring with me Gatorade powder and mix it with my water - I do a half and half mixture.


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