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Winter Hiking Tips from Kristen DeBoard

Hiking is the perfect exercise for those in the Williamson and Tug Valley area. After all, how else can you get your daily exercise while enjoying the region’s natural beauty at the same time? Unfortunately, hiking can be a little less pleasant during the winter months, if you don’t know how to do it safely and warmly. Kristin DeBoard, Nutrition and Marketing Manager for Williamson Health and Wellness Center, and avid hiker, has some suggestions for hiking during the winter!

Dress Right

It’s important to dress right if you want to hike in below freezing temperatures. “Wear lots of clothes,” Kristin says. “Dressing in layers will help ensure you can remove heat as you go, or add back on if the temperature changes quickly, like it does often.” She emphasizes the importance of good hiking shoes. “Good shoes or boots are a must,” she says. While sneakers might work for warmer months, she recommends boots. “I recommend boots only because of their warmth and waterproof abilities, coupled with the good tread for the muddy terrain.”

Take Snacks

Remember to bring snacks and water as well, Kristin says. “Even if you’re only going a few miles, you never know what unexpected adventures could happen, and cause your hike time to be extended.” For snacks, she suggests peanut butter sandwiches, fruit, and grain bars. “You exert more energy when hiking than you do when running or walking a path, so it’s depleted quicker, and you want something with carbs for immediate energy and protein for that staying power. That way, you aren’t starving when you finish.”

Staying Safe on the Trails

Most important of all, know what you’re doing and where you’re going. Kristin stresses, “Know your route. Study the maps available, and consider the Alltrails app if you are on unfamiliar territory.”

Don’t let the cold weather keep you from hiking! If you know how to be smart about your winter hike you’ll earn some great health benefits while enjoying our beautiful mountains. Stay safe out there!

Cover photo provided by Kristen DeBoard

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