Going on your first hike? Prepare your mind, body and set of hiking gear with tips by MBT Academy manager Alex Manazzon.
Going on your first hiking trip can be daunting. What trail should I choose? What shoes should I wear? MBT Academy manager Alex Manazzon shares on the essentials you will need, as well as tips on preparing your body for your first hiking adventure.
Choose the right route
First of all, it is important to study the characteristics of any trail, choosing one that has been classified specifically for beginners. This can be found in official guides, or on specific websites. Start with a hike with low altitude, minimal slope, and of a difficulty best suited to your current fitness level.
Pack light but bring the essentials
Your lightweight backpack should carry water or liquid supplements, light snacks, a waterproof jacket in case of rain, a compass, an extra t-shirt, and a small self-medication kit. Wear light and breathable clothes, and a pair of compression socks for better blood circulation and to prevent blisters. Don’t forget a pair of protective sunglasses to shade those precious eyes of yours.
Wear the correct shoes and test them first
The best hiking shoes should be light, and one that wraps around the foot, providing stability with a flexible sole that ensures that you are able to roll through correctly with each step. The upper must be breathable and comfortable, while the sole should have ample cushioning and ankle support. The MBT Modena Slip On combines all these features, and is also designed to improve balance, posture and increase muscle activity.
Got a pair of new shoes? It is better to break them in with some workouts before setting off, even if they are of high quality and with soft material. You should try to get used to the feel of the shoe, as well as its response on various surfaces – dry and wet. This will help you to test out the shoes’ performance against various climatic conditions.
Train both your mind and body
Before attempting your first trail, it is important to prepare your body. Go for at least six fast-paced walks for an hour each on simple routes, or even flat roads. To strengthen the muscles around your ankle, try walking on your toes or heels for a few metres, or working in ankle rotations to improve the joint mobility. Stretching before and after the hike will also help you build strong and reactive muscles and prevent any possible injuries. Try these five calf stretches or yoga poses aimed at giving you better flexibility.
Hike with a friend
Hiking alone can be very important for self-esteem and for physical and mental training, but tackling a trail with others is just as beneficial. Besides safety, helping each other along the way and learning about teamwork, your hiking buddies will be a great source of motivation too.