There’s no doubt about it - hill walking comes with a plethora of benefits.Heading for the hills can:
Among other things…
Convinced yet? Ready to get started?
Read on for our list of hill walking tips for beginners. 21, to be precise:
When you first start out and are planning to head out to unfamiliar (and often remote) trails, taking a companion along is a good (and highly recommended) idea.
Not only can they help you with navigation, but they’re also there in case of injury or emergency.
Save the solitary strolls for later in your hiking journey, when your skill levels improve.
You could join (or start!) a walking club, which is a great way of learning from more experienced hillwalkers.
Websites such as Meetup regularly run group walks and hikes.
Walking clubs and meet-ups can be a safe and sociable way to dip your toes into the world of hill walking.
Get to know the trail map inside out.
Learn which paths and trails are recommended, and where the dead ends are.
The more familiar you are with your trail, the easier you’ll find it to hike with confidence.
Navigation on hilly terrains can be challenging, especially when you’re a hill walking beginner and especially if you encounter bad weather.
Now, GPS devices and smartphones can be hugely helpful. But as with any piece of tech, they have a tendency of dying on you or running out of battery when you need them most.
Learn how to read a physical map and how to use a compass to avoid getting lost under any odds.
Also includes knowing everything you need to about the weather, which has a huge impact on your hill walking experience.
Checking the weather is one of the most basic but most important hill walking tips for beginners.
Not only does it mentally prepare you, it allows you to dress and pack accordingly.
Hill walking in very wet conditions can be dangerous, even for more experienced walkers.
There is absolutely no need to push yourselves too hard on your first few hikes, as you’re in the early stages of building your stamina.
You can increase how steep an incline you face over time.
When people initially think of hill walking, they can get a little overwhelmed by the thought of getting to the hills themselves.
In the UK, we’re blessed with a huge variety of great hill walking areas not more than a few hours away from us.
From the Lake District to Snowdonia and various stunning spots in Scotland, there’s certainly a lot to explore.
Saying that getting to these places can be time-consuming and costly. So, consider starting your hill walking trips closer to your home.
With a little bit of online research, you’d be surprised at the amount of rolling hills that are more easily accessible to you.
Fill up your waterproof backpack with additional weight if you’re looking to lose more bodyweight.
Ironic, we know.
In fact, carrying a 15-pound pack can amp up your calorie burn by as much as 15%.
And it strengthens up your back muscles. Bonus.
It’s an activity that doesn’t require a lot of paraphernalia.
But the one thing that’s important to get right is the clothing.
Let’s start with the footwear:
Whether you decide to go for hiking boots or softer walking shoes, the right footwear is a must to make your hill walking experience more comfortable and easier on your joints.
If you’re hillwalking in the UK, it’s bound to get a little cold and wet when you’re out on the trails.
Wear clothing made of materials with proper insulation such as fleeces to help keep you warm.
Bring along several layers in your waterproof backpack. You can then add or remove these based on your preference and changing temperatures.
If you’re planning to go hillwalking and there’s any chance of rain, wear a waterproof jacket and ventilated trousers.
Avoid cotton and denim at all costs!
And keep an eye on that heartbeat and ensure you’re pushing yourself enough to get fit without overexerting.
Over time, you’ll get more use out of it as it’s designed to be durable and made of long-lasting materials.
And you’ll be grateful for it when you’re out on that rainy hillside trail!
Get yourself into a routine, so even on those days that you can’t trek to the trails, you walk on hilly terrain or even just an inclined treadmill to keep your hill walking training up.
Trust us, it will be much easier to conquer the trails if you remain consistent.
You can practice on a flight of stairs if you’re not prepared to lug a heavy bag out to the hills just yet.
Let’s get real:
Once you get out onto the hills, it can get addictive.
You may be tempted to attempt a walk or face weather that could be dangerous.
Try not to rush the hill walking training process.
Remember, biting off more than you can chew and making rash decisions can lead to accidents.
And any unpleasant incidents early on may turn you off from attempting hill walking again.
It’s heading uphill that’s the challenging part.
The good news is that uphill walking offers all the benefits of resistance training.
Sustain a steady pace so that you’re able to sustain your walk for longer, rather than trying to push yourself to the point of breathlessness.
And don’t despair if you’re left desperately out of breath post your first uphill walk.
It gets easier the more frequently (and consistently) you go.
When walking uphill, a good hill walking technique is to take shorter strides and lean into the slope a little, rather than trying to take huge steps.
If you do encounter a really large step, try and find a foothold which allows you to take it in two paces.
This eases the load and allows you to gain a firmer grip.
But keep an eye on where you’re placing your feet as you go.
Remember, unsteady steps can be dangerous while hill walking.
Over time, you’ll learn how to become a more efficient and confident hill walker.