Mountain Hiking - Benefits and Hazards
Mountaineering and hiking are becoming very popular outdoor activities for all generations. Who doesn't love the scenic views of nature, fresh air and socializing with friends during physical exercise. The benefit of mountaineering and hiking is that you can choose tour which is appropriate to your psychophysical skills, experience and knowledge. That's the reason why mountaineering and hiking are appropriate for kids, teenagers, families, elders and also experienced hikers and mountaineers. It is your decision whether you go on an easy socializing tour with your friends or family or you choose a complex tour which will build your confidence and self esteem.
Who doesn't love views like that?
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Hiking is an aerobic exercise which helps you:
- Improve muscular fitness (quadriceps, hamstring, calves, glutes, hips, shoulders, abs)
- Improve cardio-respiratory and pulmonary fitness (heart, lungs, blood vessels)
- Control your weight (during activity you will burn up to 400 calories per hour)
- Reduce psychological risks (depression, sleeplessness)
- Reduce risk of different cancers
- Reduce risk of high cholesterol and triglycerides
- Reduce risk of high blood pressure and diabetes
- Reduce risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improve bone health
But there are not just health benefits you will also:
- Build your self esteem
- Meet new people
- Visit new places
- Make astonishing photos
- Get new experience and knowledge
- Build the best team with your friends or co-workers
- Have unforgotten trips with your friends or family
We figured out that mountaineering and hiking are awesome sports, appropriate for everybody with many benefits which will build your health and social life.
People often ask if mountaineering and hiking are dangerous sports. The answer is that it depends on tour which you are making. Tour must be appropriate to your experience, knowledge and psychophysical skills.
Bellow I will briefly describe hazards which may occur during hiking and mountaineering.
Who doesn't love these beautiful mountains?
There are many hazards which may occur during hiking or mountaineering but you can reduce them. First step to this is being familiar with them.
We have two types of hazards:
- Subjective hazards - these are hazards created by humans
- Objective hazards - these are hazards caused by nature
Types of subjective hazards:
Inappropriate preparation hazards
- Weather forecast information missing before going
- Orientation skills overestimation
- Incorrectly estimated technical complexity
- Incorrectly estimated duration
- Basic experience and capabilities overestimation
Inappropriate equipment hazards
- Inappropriate shoes/boots
- Equipment missing (equipment must be consistent with technical complexity)
- Inappropriate wind, cold, rain or sun protection
Types of objective hazards:
- Sudden weather change
- Bad visibility
- High altitude
This is brief description of hazards which may occur during mountaineering or hiking. The question now is how to minimize hazards.
First step is to read some literature to get additional knowledge before starting your trip. But even then be aware that theoretical knowledge isn't also practical experience. Bellow I will list some good books appropriate for hikers and mountaineers.
Book for beginners
Appropriate book for beginners who would like to start with hiking
Ice climbing accident - You don't want this happens to you!
So the question now is how to minimize hazards. Everybody wants to be safe during hiking and moutnaineering but the qestion is how to achieve that. Remember that your trip starts at home with gathering information and managing equipment. Next step is being careful outdoor.
You should follow next steps to minimize hazards
At home you should do:
Gather information about weather and technical complexity. This information is easily accesable on internet or in literature. Print maps or load them on your GPS. Don't foreget to check batteries. In cold environment batteries will empty faster. Find orienteering points which will help you later if something goes wrong. You should also estimate duration. Try to find this information on internet or estimate it by yourself. You can walk 6 kilometers per hour on flat terrain. When you are making big altitude change your speed will be lower. Maybe it wil drop even to 1 kilometer per hour. You should also incalculate time for breaks in your tour. If you are doing longer tour, prepare with short tours before going.
So you have done that? What is next?
Now you should pack your gear. For shorter trips you will need only water and maybe some energy bars. You can carry water in camelback or in bottle. Camelback is much more handy. But what if you are doing longer trips?
Then you will need backpack, first aid kit, additional clothing, and technical equipment like crampons, ice axe, helmet etc. if you are doing technically complex tours. Do technically complex tours only if you have appropriate knowledge and experience.
Next step is going on the tour:
When you start your tour don't rush. Be careful for signs of weather change and look for other hazards like rockfall and avalanches too. 90% of safe tour is done at home. If you have appropriate equipment and information there is very little chance that something will go wrong. Do not overestimate your skills. This is the main reason for hiking and mountaineering injuries.
How to pack your backpack for mountaineering
Which injuries did you have on hike?
What is the difference between hiking and mountaineering?
Mountaineering takes place in mountainous terrain and includes hiking and sometimes climbing. For mountaineering you occasionally need technical equipment such as crampons, ice axes, harness, rope and other climbing equipment.
Hiking doesn't take place only in mountains, you can hike forests, desert, coast line and practically anywhere you want. Hiking trips are usually shorter than mountaineering trips.
Is hiking or mountaineering dangerous sport?
No they are not if you follow instructions in this article and additional literature
Will I lose weight with hiking and mountaineering?
Hiking and mountaineering are appropriate sports to lose weight but keep in mind that your weight also depends on nutrition. If you want to lose weight start slowly that you won't lose the joy of hiking and mountaineering. Then slowly increase your mountaineering and hiking activity.
Which are hiking and mountaineering most common injuries?
Most common injuries are blisters, cuts and scrapes and dehydration. You can prevent these injuries with your knowledge and equipment.
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