Hiking is a past time enjoyed by many for a number of reasons. It is an excellent outdoor sport for exercise and also gives a person the opportunity to enjoy time outdoors and take in beautiful scenery. But, for some people, hiking can seem intimidating if they have never tried it before. Luckily, hiking is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and hiking goes great with a short camping trip. As a first time hiker, the most important thing is to be prepared. Use the following tips if you're a first timer who is interested in getting started hiking:

Be Realistic About Your Skills and Fitness Level

Wanting to hike a trail and actually being able to physically do so are two different things. When you're just getting started with hiking, it is extremely important to be realistic about your fitness level and physical skills. Take the time to research hiking areas that you're interested in, and select trails that are rated as being good for beginners. Doing so will help ensure that you can successfully complete your hike without any injuries or other problems. 

Bring the Right Gear

If you plan on hiking, especially if you're taking a long trail, it is absolutely essential to have the right gear. There are many outdoor sporting goods available that will make hiking a lot easier for you. First, make sure that you have a quality pair of hiking shoes or boots that provide ample support to your feet and ankles. You will also need a sturdy, durable hiking backpack to hold all of your stuff. Make sure that your backpack contains ample water, a compass, first aid kit, extra clothing, sunscreen, flashlights or headlamps, a form of emergency shelter, food, a source of fire (matches or lighter), and a trail map. You can find everything you need for a hiking trip at a discount outdoor sporting goods store.

Take Your Time

When you're excited to hike your first trail, it is not uncommon to want to hike at a fast pace. However, doing this is not in your best interest, as it can make you tire out much faster, making it difficult to complete the hike. If you're new to hiking, always make sure to keep a steady, but continual, pace. Maintaining your pace throughout a hike will help with your endurance and make the experience much more enjoyable.