Fall is the one of the most beautiful seasons to embrace being outside and is the perfect time of year for hiking. Not only do you avoid the sticky summer heat that can make the activity uncomfortable, but you get to take in the beautiful changing scenery. As if that’s not enough of a reason to engage in a hiking trip this upcoming season, the activity itself offers many health benefits as it is not only a full body workout, but also a natural antidepressant.

Before you head outdoors, here are four essential tips to keep in mind.

Don’t let the season fool you

Although the heat has died away, the sunshine will remain. The days of applying sunblock are not over because despite this misconception, you can still end up with a sunburn and with the change in air and wind, it’s important to keep your skin moist to prevent any potential dryness. Protecting your eyes is just as essential as with clearer air comes brighter sunlight, so don’t leave your sunglasses at home!

Gear up with the right stuff

Along with sun protection, there are several other items you’ll find necessary for your hiking trip. Dehydration is still a concern even without the summer heat so be prepared by bringing a water bottle and a small snack like nuts or fruit.

If you’re not familiar with the trail, avoid getting lost by picking up a map or compass. A first aid kit will come in handy if you happen to trip and scrape your knee on an unsteady surface. 

Know what to wear

The right attire makes all the difference between comfort and extremely sore feet! Start with hiking boots or trail running shoes as they are supportive and designed for such activities.

Wearing light, quick drying clothes can keep you more comfortable as hiking undoubtedly will have you working up a sweat. Furthermore, layers are key for your comfort. With the cool air and quickly changing weather conditions you can encounter on any hike, dressing in layers will allow you to bundle up or shed clothes to adjust to the varying temperatures.

Take safety precautions

Knowing your trail’s condition is essential in hiking safety. Being aware of the weather forecast and having an idea of how such conditions affect your location can be the difference between a safe hike and a dangerous one.

There’s always safety in numbers but if you don’t have a hiking buddy, be sure to always let someone know where you are in case of an emergency.

Sources:

http://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/how-hiking-can-help-depression

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/hiking-boots.html