How to stay safe while hiking

8 tips to follow while on the trail

Ontario is a great place to go for a hike. From the elevated viewpoints of the Ottawa/Temiskaming Highland Trail to the waterfalls along the Bruce Trail, hiking in Ontario can be an amazing way to see the province.

But while hiking can offer great views it can also be dangerous. Exposing yourself to the elements, getting up close and personal with nature or being ill-prepared for your hike can end in a serious injury.

Here are 8 tips from Kettering Health Network to help you stay safe on your next hike:

1. Plan ahead

If you’re hiking by yourself make sure to let someone know where you’re going and what time you’re expecting to return. If you’re going in a group it’s important to decide on a meet-up location before setting out on your hike, just in case anyone becomes separated from the group.

2. Wear the right clothing

Dress for your hike according to the terrain and the weather. That means proper shoes or hiking boots. As well, it’s important to protect yourself from tick bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, which make it easier to see them and brush them off.

3. Teach yourself

Before you step foot on the trail learn how to spot and steer clear of toxic plants like poison oak, sumac or ivy.

4. Pack appropriately

Make sure to bring the essentials like water, food, a map, a compass/GPS, a whistle, a headlamp, a flashlight, a knife or multipurpose tool, insect repellent that includes DEET, sunscreen, sunglasses, rain gear and a first aid kit.

5. Hydrate

While you’re hiking it’s important to drink lots of water. As you hike your body sweats and loses fluid. Failing to drink water while you hike can leave you dehydrated and lead to heat-related issues like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

6. Choose wisely

Never go off of the established trail and stay out of off-limits areas.

7. Pay attention

Today there are lots of digital distractions that can make their way into your hike. Whether you’re lost in some music, or have your eyes locked on a device, taking focus off of the environment around you (even for a short amount of time) could end in some serious consequences. Not paying attention to where you’re going can cause you to run into something or someone, and could cause you to make a bad step and result in injury. Make sure to keep your focus on the trail.

8. Pace yourself

It is important to not push yourself too hard—especially if you are new to hiking or are not very active. The last thing you want is to end up injured in the middle of the trail.

While you can take all these precautions to stay safe, unfortunately, sometimes you can still become injured on your hike.

If you have been injured, and need legal assistance, call #1000 on your cell phone for free. We will offer you a free claim assessment.

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