Our team at AFC Urgent Sevierville knows that exercise is probably the last thing on your mind during your vacation. But you can get in some physical activity and have plenty of fun by taking advantage of one of the 150 hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Hiking is an excellent cardiovascular workout that offers plenty of health benefits, including lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar levels. Being in the Great Outdoors offers its own benefits and is likely to boost your mood.

However, with all the benefits come some risks, which is why it’s important to take safety precautions when hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains or other local trails available just outside Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

The Basics of Hiking Safety

We have some tips to help keep you safe while you’re hiking in our area this summer.

First, you should always hike with others—not alone. The mountains are filled with beauty, but they also contain wild animals, slippery trails and inclement weather, all of which can lead to accidents. That’s why having someone along with you is essential. Whether you’re headed to check out the beauty of Abrams Falls in Cades Cove or taking an easier hike up to Laurel Falls, take along family or friends.

Second, make sure you bring plenty of water with you on your hike to stay hydrated. The Tennessee summers are hot, even when you’re up in the mountains. And when you’re exercising in the heat, you’ll be sweating quite a bit. You will need to help your body replenish the water it’s losing through sweat. Drink water continuously throughout the day, rather than waiting until you’re thirsty. By the time you feel thirst, you can already be dehydrated.

It’s also important to mention that you shouldn’t drink water from rivers or streams in the Smokies, unless you treat it first. This requires boiling the water or using a water filter, so it’s better to just pack plenty in your backpack and car.

Finally, make sure you bring along other essentials, which include sunscreen, bug spray, a map, a flashlight and a first-aid kit. The first-aid kit should contain the basics needed to treat minor health issues and/or stabilize a more severe injury until you can seek medical care. You can either buy a first-aid kit at a store or create one of your own that includes bandages and gauze of varying sizes, antiseptic wipes, instant cold packs, tweezers, sharp scissors, antibiotic ointment, over-the-counter pain relievers, a basic splint, and first-aid instructions.

Did you sprain your ankle on a recent hike? Visit AFC Urgent Care Sevierville so that our friendly team can provide you with a care plan to get you on the path to healing—and enjoying your vacation!