Number 4 of the Seven W's of Hiking Safety is Weariness.
Hiking can be strenuous exercise. Each person has unique fitness levels and health concerns, so consider carefully your physical condition and stick to the hike that's right for your particular fitness .
Know your limits and choose a hike accordingly. Pack any special medications that you require (for example: emergency heart medication for those with high blood pressure), as well as bring plenty of water, high energy snacks and a first-aid kit.
Wear the proper clothing for a hike:
- long-pants are suggested
- comfortable, thick-treaded footwear
- whatever else the weather might require
Be aware that the air is thinner at higher elevations, making breathing more difficult especially during strenuous exercise. Stretching before a hike is also a great idea.
If at any time you experience severe fatigue, dizziness, out of breath, muscle cramps, pounding heart rate, excessive sweating or headaches, stop and rest.
Drink plenty of water (this can help with muscle cramps and headache). Also, be sure to eat a snack for added energy, as your body needs more calories during difficult exercise. However, do not over-eat or your digestive system and muscles will compete for energy resulting in cramps and tiredness.
Some over-the-counter pain medications are also muscle relaxants and can help ease muscle cramps. Remember to hike at your own speed and take short rests.
Riverside Hiking Examiner Cathy Flores is a freelance author currently writing a hiking guide for the San Bernardino Mountains.
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