Written in partnership with Jeff Jenkins, creator & founder of Chubby Diaries
For anyone, hiking can be challenging and amazing all at the same time. From rough trails to rolling hills to massive mountains to caves and low valleys there are so many options and so many beautiful views that come along with it. I believe that everyone should have this experience, including plus-size people!
I’ve been a big guy my whole life and there have been times that hiking was the last thing I wanted to do because of my perceived limitations. I also felt discouraged to hike with friends because I believed that I would not be able to keep up and to be honest there are still times that I can’t (I’ll talk about that later). But I don’t let that stop me and neither should you!
Like I mentioned before I believe that hiking and being outdoors should be for everyone and here are my 5 tips for hiking as a plus-size person:
TIP 1: Move at a pace that works for you
Just because others are moving faster does not mean you have to keep pace with them.
Plus size folks tend to feel embarrassed or isolated because they can't keep up. One thing I started doing with my friends is I am the one to set the pace for the group. This was the most impactful thing that got me out of my head and it was then that I started enjoying myself on the trails with folks.
TIP 2: Take breaks!
Shoutout to the LifeStraw crew I was with in Oregon when I participated in their summer marketing campaign. They gave me the space to take a break whenever I needed it! Shoot, we all needed those breaks! I always hit the trails with my LifeStraw Go bottle, so my body doesn’t get fatigued or dehydrated. Taking a break can be beneficial all around.
Taking a break gives you and your body time to rest.
Taking a break allows you to stretch and catch your breath.
Taking a break gives you the opportunity to take in the sights that are around you!
TIP 3: Prepare your body ahead of time
I like to workout and prep myself before any big hike that I’m planning to be on. I use treadmills and set them on massive inclines so that I could be prepared for the climb that usually comes with hiking mountains and hills.
I also recommend hiking smaller trails on a regular basis so your body can get used to the stress that comes with hiking. Make sure you drink tons of water the night before your hike. And stretch as much as possible before and afterward.
TIP 4: The secret is in the shoe
This should not come as a surprise but hiking in Jordans or flip flops might not be the best shoe options. Finding the right shoe wear is a must for any hiker, especially for plus size people hiking. Having that extra weight can add more pressure to your frame and add to the risk of injuries like rolling your ankle. Good hiking shoes that decrease the chances of injury, swelling, and aching feet!
TIP 5: No means no!
Don't let someone shame you or force you to do something you’re not comfortable with! Like I mentioned before, plus-size people can feel embarrassed or isolated when hiking with others. Sometimes plus-size folks hear that they need to “suck it up,” “keep pushing,” “don’t give up,” when your body is giving you all signs that it should stop. Know your limits and be bold enough to say no. Even if it is a no, not right now.
Jeff Jenkins is an award-winning content creator and founder of Chubby Diaries. He helps people travel the world no matter their size through community, branded content, and motivational talks. You can expect 100% authenticity, transparency, and lots of fun. He has a skill of drawing out big dreams in people and every time you are around him you can expect to enjoy yourself! Jeff’s enthusiastic personality, charisma, and contagious big smile makes him one of a kind!