Have you finally found time in your busy schedule for a long-awaited camping trip? If it will take only a couple of days with minimal hiking, you may not need to prepare for it. If you plan to cover long distances over several days or even weeks with a heavy backpack behind you or on a bicycle, then you must prepare for hiking.
Many newbies will wonder why they need to exercise before hiking. It’s simple. Suppose you’re not a professional nor amateur athlete. You don’t engage in any physical activity in your free time. You’ve forgotten to think about your daily regular exercise with stretching. In that case, on the first day of the trip, you will feel every muscle exhausted and uncomfortable from the solid physical load.
At the same time, this does not mean you can’t do without doing physical exercise for the hike. With extra preparation, you will reenjoy a full-fledged vacation and not think about how you are exhausted.
When exactly to start practicing physical activity and exercise for a hike is up to you. You can start preparing a month in advance, two months in advance, or two weeks in advance. Or you can get in good physical shape even six months before the hike if you know about it in advance.
What physical traits will you use when hiking?
Hiking is a versatile outdoor activity. It engages various muscle groups and cardiovascular systems. Consequently, it offers a comprehensive workout while allowing you to connect with nature. As travelers traverse the diverse landscapes, they test their endurance, strength, and resilience:
- Varied terrain. Mountains encompass a mix of terrains, from rugged mountain paths to gentle meadows and rocky trails to well-paved roads.
- Elevation changes. Most trekking routes include sections with much elevation gains and losses.
- Long distances. Mountain trips cover hundreds of kilometers, necessitating prolonged periods of walking day after day.
- Carrying a backpack. Many travelers carry a backpack containing their essentials, which adds an extra layer of physical demand.
- Weather conditions. Weather can be unpredictable, ranging from scorching sun to rain and chilly winds.
- Foot health. The extended hours of walking can lead to foot-related challenges such as blisters, calluses, and soreness.
- Duration and consistency. Most hiking tours are not a one-day trek but a journey that spans weeks.
As you can see, you must prepare for hiking. If you want to choose a hiking tour based on your physical preparedness, visit Bookatrekking.com. It offers trips to mountains of different complexity. You can find trekking tours that suit those without any physical fit. If you have a lot of experience in conquering different Mountains and want some extreme, you will also find suitable tours there.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week for people 50+ with at least 30-minute sessions.
Hiking exercises do not constitute a single complex but can be practiced without taking a break from your daily life. For example, walk more, take long walks in the fresh air away from the roads, and forget about the elevator’s existence for a while. Take the stairs more if you live in a multi-story building. Do all these things as much as possible. A walk on foot is beneficial at any age.
Developing endurance and coordination
Jogging is one of the most common anaerobic exercises. It puts a gentler load on the muscles. At the same time, it trains the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Moreover, it activates metabolic processes in the body. As an exercise for hiking, jogging is useful at a leisurely pace rather than marching for time. Such physical activity will strengthen the muscles of the legs, especially the ankles, which is important for hiking.
To ensure that running benefits you, keep some rules in mind:
- Try to run away from the roads
- Choose a special soft surface at the stadium, grass, dirt, forest path, or even sand, but not concrete, asphalt, or sidewalk
- Choose the right running shoes with thick soles, not old sneakers
- Maintain a reasonable pace – no need to sprint
- Train to the best of your ability
Be sure to include exercises for developing coordination. On the road, you will need such skills, for example, when jumping from stone to stone or going down a narrow path. The simplest training in this direction is walking along the curb. Over time, you can walk on logs lying on the ground, but it will not be easy to train on iron logs on the playground because they are very slippery.
Strengthening leg and back muscles
The most numerous exercises for hiking are those aimed at strengthening the legs and back muscles. First of all, these are regular squats. You should allocate a couple of minutes in your daily routine. Do full squats in several approaches, with short breaks, increasing the number of approaches.
Exercises for the legs, back, and core from the usual exercises are also great for hiking preparation. Checkout our exercise list for exercises that will strengthen these areas.
Remember that your goal is to train your body, not to exhaust it.
It is good to get your body used to the outdoors. You want it to be used to water, air, sun, heat, or cold so that you are ready for those conditions when you hike. This is yet another way to ensure you prepare for hiking.
Making your lungs stronger
Improving your breathing is just as important as exercising your muscles in your physical preparation for hiking. First of all, improving your lungs will allow you to tackle any climbs without shortness of breath and feel more comfortable on your trip. By the way, the most fun, simple, and accessible lung exercise is doing simple exercises that make you slightly out of breath.
Filling the body with vitamins
Approximately two weeks before the start of the hike, if it is supposed to be a long trip, it is recommended to use vitamins to facilitate the process of acclimatization of the body. These can be ready-made complexes and ordinary ascorbic acid or foodstuff vitamins. Also, you can strengthen your health with a enough amount of fruits, vegetables, fish in the diet, teas with rose hips, ginger, lemon, etc.
Training schedule to prepare for hiking
We recommend you start training 2 months before your hiking tour. The following 7 day training schedule is great for people with any physical activity:
- Day 1: Walking
- Day 2: Strengthening leg and back muscles
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Developing endurance and coordination
- Day 5: Walking
- Day 6: Strengthening leg and back muscles
- Day 7: Rest
Change your cardio days to long day hikes (60+ minutes each) with a pack 2 weeks before your trip. Its weight should be the weight for that one you’ll be carrying on your trip.
By embracing these outdoor exercises and holistic health practices, you’ll conquer the trails with confidence and relish the journey itself. So, whether you’re ascending mountain peaks or trekking through lush valleys, your physical preparation will serve as the foundation for an unforgettable and fulfilling hiking experience.