With 2024 in full swing, outdoor experts reveal how soft hiking is the fitness trend you need to follow this year.
The trend allows people to enjoy the outdoors and exercise without the pressure of hitting high altitudes or milestone distances.
What is soft hiking and what do you need to get into it?
I spoke with Ben Conroy, Author and Outdoor Enthusiast at GO Outdoors who went on to tell me, “The idea of ‘soft’ activities has taken over social media and is about leaning into what feels good – taking time for yourself and nourishing your body and soul. Getting outdoors and exercising is the perfect way to boost endorphins.
“Soft hiking is simply enjoying time in nature and moving your body at a leisurely pace. You do not need to climb high mountains or ascend steep hills.
With this in mind, we have offered our top tips on getting into soft hiking:
- Choose a hiking destination
Using apps such as Ordnance Survey can help you choose your route, as it allows you to choose the intensity of your walking route.
It is recommended that you start on easy routes, and build up to more intense walks if you want to do so.
Remember, one of the main points of soft hiking is that any intensity is classed as a hike.
Sticking to pre-chosen routes also decreases the chances of getting lost, and means you can share your planned routes with friends before setting off.
- Round up a group of friends
Not only does hiking have physical benefits, but it is also the perfect time to catch up with friends and socialise.
Hiking with friends also means that should anything go wrong, multiple people can help.
- Wear the correct clothing
No matter the intensity of the hike, it is important to stay comfortable and wear the correct clothing.
It is best to wear breathable, anti-chafe clothing as well as sturdy walking boots or shoes. Wearing sturdy shoes will help you to avoid any falls or injuries on uneven terrain.
- Remember snacks and water
Ensuring that you are properly fueled and hydrated is essential for any exercise, and soft hiking is no different.
High-energy foods such as dates, oat bars and flapjacks are the perfect snack.
Finding the perfect place to rest and enjoy the surroundings of nature can be one of the best parts of a soft hike!
- Pack light and ensure your backpack fits correctly
Whilst it is important to take essentials such as suncream and first aid kits, you must remember that you will have to carry around whatever you pack.
Ensuring that your backpack fits correctly will help you to distribute the weight of your items.
A correctly fitted backpack should carry 70%-80% of the weight on your hips, with the rest on the shoulders.
The weight should be held close to your back and remain there without excessive movement when you move up and down, or side to side.
- Have fun!
Soft hiking is the perfect way for anyone to get into fitness. It is free to do, has no time restraint and no pressure to reach certain goals. The most important thing to do is to enjoy yourself!