Five Tips To Get Started Hiking

Posted by Carmel Turner on

Here are five tips to help you get started hiking. If you want to lose weight, improve your overall health, challenge yourself or tick off a bucket list item then hiking is a great way to do one or all of the above.  Even if you are over 50 you can still get started hiking and enjoy it.  But how do you get started, particularly if you have never hiked or have been away from it for a while.  Check out our five tips below

Five things to do to get started hiking Now
  1. Get a Health Check-up 

This is not mandatory but more a safeguard for yourself particularly if you have not done a lot of physical exercise lately. 

  1. Choose a Goal that Stretches and Excites you

The best way to get moving and hiking is to choose a physical activity that is a bit of a challenge and you think you will like. For me it was the Oxfam 100km challenge which is completed in a team over 24hrs along hiking and fire trails.  The initial goal was to lose weight but when I saw this challenge advertised on a billboard the idea of it appealed to my sense of adventure.  It was doing something different and out there.  Something not run-of-the-mill that everybody does.  The added bonus was that it was raising money for a charity whose work I believed in and it was done in a team. But the important thing is to choose the goal and commit to it.  For some this is easier to do in a group.

  1. Find Some Hiking Buddies

The team structure not only gives support and company on the trails but adds in the accountability factor which is very helpful when you first start doing the training.  If you don’t know anyone that is keen on hiking there are plenty of Meetup groups that hike in your area so look for them.  However, if you would like to start on your own that is great as well. There are a lot of urban hiking trails in and around larger cities and bigger regional centers.  These are usually well-trafficked so there will be other people hiking them.  It is also good policy to tell a friend, family member or even the local conservation officer or park ranger, where and when you are going to hike and also let them know when you return. 

Hiking tasmania with friends
  1. Set up a training schedule

Once again joining a formally run event has some great side benefits.  Having a professionally done and well-documented training schedule is one of them.  If you don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of a structured event then consult your own personal trainer or health professional.  Or, if you are confident in your own ability to find and decipher information on developing an exercise program yourself then research it on the Internet. There is a lot of stuff out there.  Below is an example of a Training Program for the 100Km hike mentioned above.  It’s for an extreme event but you can see what is required and how the type of terrain you tackle increases as you get fitter.  Strength training is also required.  It is an example only.

Phase 1 - Building a Base

This first phase may seem a little daunting but focus on small improvements session to session and week to week and the gains will come quickly


No. Of Sessions Weekly

Weekly Hours
Guide in Miles/Km

Level of Terrain

Strength of Session

Week 1

3-4 Sessions
Easy to Moderate Paced Walks
20-60 Minutes

2-4 Hrs (6-12Km, 4-7 Miles)


Program A

Week 2

3-4 Sessions
Easy to Moderate Paced Walks
25-65 Minutes

2.5-4.5 Hrs (7.5-13.5Km 4.5-8.5 Miles


Program B

Week 3

3-4 Sessions
Easy to Moderate Paced Walks
30-70 Minutes

3-5 Hrs (9-15km, 5.5-9.5 Miles)


Program A

Week 4

3-4 Sessions
Easy to Moderate Paced Walks
35-74 Minutes

3.5-5.5 Hrs (10.5-16.5km, 6.5-11 miles)


Program B


  1. Choose the Right Hiking Gear.

You do not need to rush out and spend a lot of money on hiking equipment.  Initially you will only be hiking or walking between 4-6 Miles which means a good pair of outdoor shoes and socks to prevent blisters,(take a few Band-Aids just in case,)  wearing a hat and carrying water (about 20 ounces or 2 litres). Insect repellent is also a good idea depending on the season.  As you get going the following is recommended.

  • Well-fitting walking/hiking shoes and socks – some advise not to wear runners but there are a lot of people who wear runners particularly on urban trails and they are fine.  As you start doing more challenging and remote trails proper hiking shoes or boots are recommended.
  • Set of hiking sticks or poles.  Takes 20% stress off the knees.  Also give four points of balance instead of two which is especially handy on descents and navigating large tree roots.
  • Camel Pack or water bladder in a day pack.

For a more concise list of the basic requirements for a day pack check out this video entitled, ‘Hiking 101 for Beginners – Useful Knowledge’.

For whatever reason you decide to get started hiking you will end up enjoying it for its own sake.  It not only gives you a great view of the world but it also brings with it a peace and quiet not experienced in other forms of exercise.  Being in nature, at one with the forest, the mountains and the animals and birds that inhabit them.  It is in traipsing over the earth that we come to know it and be grounded in it.  Hiking trails also exist all over the world so it opens up a whole new realm for travel and meeting new people.


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