Hiking Tips From Zanna Van Dijk

BALANCE EDITORIAL TEAM | TEGAN HEDLEY
Jun 19, 2019
Hiking Tips From Zanna Van Dijk
If you’ve been anywhere near Zanna van Dijk’s Instagram of late, you’ll probably be feeling pangs of jealousy and the urge to quit your job and disappear to a mountain paradise, pronto. With photos like something out of a Lonely Planet magazine, it’s all snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, luscious hills and adorable Alpine cattle. And in the middle of it all, you’ll find Zanna and her boyfriend decked out in backpacks and hiking boots, grinning like toddlers in a sweet store.
 
Perhaps one of the most underrated forms of fitness, the impact of hiking on both physical and mental health is immense. Proven to improve cardiovascular fitness, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol, it’s also a great workout for your muscles, thanks to uneven terrain, uphill climbs and sometimes challenging descents. Combine that with ever the growing body of evidence showing a link between being in nature and improved mental health, and you’ll get a workout as effective as any gym class.
 
Having now shed its fuddy-duddy, 'something your parents make you do' image, it’s very much back in vogue with the fitness crowd. As a bonus, the fact that almost anyone can find a trail that’s suitable for them means that it’s adaptable for all levels of athletic ability. We caught up with Zanna, a long-time hiking fan, to hear what inspired her love for the great outdoors and get her top tips for an enjoyable trip.



 

Tell us a little bit about what got you into hiking?
 
I have always hiked for as long as I can remember. My parents would drag me - begrudgingly - on hikes to the Yorkshire Moors when I was a child. I complained then, but it must have rubbed off on me as I love it now!

You’re heading to Nepal next year – what made you choose it?
 
I can't wait to explore Nepal because it’s known for stunning mountain ranges and breath-taking views.
Plus, there are great responsible travel initiatives in the region which support local communities and women in particular, which is something I am super passionate about. 
 
What’s being your favourite hiking trip so far?
 
Hmmm, that’s a hard one. Either Triglav National Park in Slovenia (pictured below), Saalfelden in Austria, Gstaad in Swziterland or Yosemite in California. All four have mind-blowing landscapes - I can't choose!





What advice would you give to someone about to set off on their first hiking trip?
 
There are probably three main things that I’d tell anyone:

 
  1. Firstly, take all the snacks, so many snacks.
  2. Take multiple reusable water bottles to fill up.
  3. Choose a good pair of hiking shoes and wear them in well, so you avoid blisters. 
 
And finally, where is top of your hiking bucket list? And why?
 
The very top of my hiking bucket list is Patagonia because it has world renowned trails, which I am so excited to tick off this November with my boyfriend! After that, it is the Dolomites in Italy because it is close enough to home but also stunning.

 
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