During the hike

A few tips and tricks

Walking uphill

Breathing

Hiking can be exhausting, especially when climbing.

Keep your breath under control. A controlled breath helps to keep your heartbeat at a decent pace and you’ll have much more stamina.

Breathe like this: One step in, two steps out, one step in, two steps out.

By connecting your breathing to your steps, your body is much more in equilibrium and can, therefore, take much more before getting exhausted.

Pace

When hiking, it is best to take it slow. Don’t rush up the mountain. It will exhaust you. Also, don’t try to keep up with people that are faster than you. It is very important to walk at your own pace.

Especially when hiking uphill, it helps to think about the time you take for each step you take. Usually, 4 counts for every step is a pace everyone can handle. You can, for example, say “I love Iceland” as a mantra or sing any 4-count song (which is basically every pop song that exists) for each step you take.

Walking downhill

Hiking poles

Walking downhill is one of the worst things you can do for your knees. they have to break every step, like the suspension in a car.

When you use hiking poles, you can relieve up to 40% of the strain you put on your knees by taking a part of the impact with the poles and your arms.

Hiking poles are also very nice when hiking uphill because you can pull yourself up by your arms too. this also relieves the strain on your knees for about 15%. Ideal if you have some knee problems. When hiking on a flat surface, poles give you extra speed because you can use the strength in your arms to push forward every step you take.

Running downhill

When the trail is easy and the slope is not too steep, you can go downhill by running. When you run, the impact on every knee is much shorter and therefore less intense for the joint and muscles.

spread your legs a little bit and always bend your knees. Put your feet in an open position for maximum grip. Start running down and let gravity take you along. Make sure you are always able to break if needed.

Only do this if the slope allows you to!

 
 

Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures

Nature is very vulnerable. Even though plants can grow again and erosion happens all the time, we as hikers should do everything to protect the nature and its beauty. Therefore stay on the trail so you don’t wear out the sides of the trail. By walking a lot on the sides, the grass and moss will be affected and die in time.

don’t take flowers with you. They take a lot of energy to grow and some might be very rare. Leave them and let everybody enjoy their beauty.

Also, take all your waste with you. also the inner part of apples or other fruits. In Iceland, it takes several years for an apple core to fully compost.

“Walk in one line” and other guide instructions

Guides usually walk at the front, in the middle and at the end of the group that is hiking. Their aim is to take everyone safely over the trail and to let nobody behind. Try to know who are the guides before you start walking. Usually, this is very clear.

When guides give an instruction, just do what they say. It’s for your own safety!

A typical instruction is to walk in one line. Especially when you walk on glaciers, this is a precaution measure to not fall into cracks. the guides find the proper track, where they are sure there are no cracks. Alongside the track, they have no idea if there are cracks or not, thus it is very unsafe to walk there.