When you live somewhere as beautiful as Queensland, and you want to get active, nothing beats a hike or a bush walk. But as much fun as the great outdoors is, you need to take safety seriously. Follow this quick guide to getting active safely in the great outdoors.
Plan to be safe
Before you head off, do a little prep. Look up the weather forecast and pack accordingly. Ensure your route is appropriate for your fitness level. Tell someone reliable where you’re going and when you’ll be back and discuss what they should do if you don’t return at the agreed time. Check if the area has mobile phone coverage and fully charge your phone battery before you head out.
When you’re in the great outdoors (even on cloudy days), wear a long-sleeved shirt, a broad-brimmed hat and a pair of sunnies to protect your eyes. Make sure you apply a broad spectrum SPF30 or higher sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin and remember to reapply every two hours. Early morning and late afternoon are the perfect times to enjoy hiking, as the temperature is cooler and the UV Index is lower at these times.
Dehydration can happen quickly and can make otherwise healthy people dangerously unwell. The elderly and the very young are at the highest risk of dehydration, but all of us need to stay hydrated, so drink small amounts of water regularly before and throughout your hike. Be sure to pack plenty of drinking water for everyone on the hike.
Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks will increase dehydration, so leave these at home, and don’t go hiking if you’re hungover.
The first signs of dehydration include feeling thirsty, having a dry mouth or lips, headache, light-headedness and having darker urine than normal. Watch out for these signs as an indication that you need to up your water intake.
Pack a first aid kit
When you’re out hiking, carrying a well-stocked first aid kit is essential, and so is knowing how to use it. A few bandages, a compress, some safety pins, tweezers for ticks and splinters, tape, swabs and some simple pain killers are all a good idea.
Some mosquitoes can spread viruses and diseases like Ross River fever and Dengue fever. When you’re hiking, especially in summer in northern Queensland, wear long, loose clothing that covers your skin (light colours are best) and use insect repellent.
If you stick to these few simple principles, your hikes and bushwalks should be a great success.
If you’re looking for places in your area to hike, follow this link.