Rest stops

In both walking and skiing it is important to allow the group to establish a rhythm. Frequent stops will interrupt this process and accelerate the onset of fatigue. A good leader should be proactive in controlling when and where the stops occur. It is important to define stages and designate rest stops so that members of the group can focus on a set objective. Set an easy pace for the first 15–20 minutes for everyone to warm up and adjust to the activity. Following this, a break to adjust clothing, equipment and footwear will allow individuals to get comfortable. Pack and adjust backpacks with care, as a poorly loaded or adjusted pack can cause discomfort and upset balance (particularly when skiing), making it difficult to establish a rhythm.

Activity periods should vary in length depending on the nature of the group and how they are coping with the conditions. Rest periods should allow the muscles to relax, but should not be so long that the body begins to cool. Five to ten minutes should be adequate time for most group members to relax and have a drink.

Plan rest breaks and let the group know what is ahead, so that they can focus on a defined objective. Select pleasant rest spots (e.g. under the shade of a tree or overlooking an interesting view), so that the group can enjoy the break for more than just its relief from the activity.