Hiking is really fun. There’s no doubt about that. But you do need to have good physical health for it. Or else it will only be bothersome and distressing. If you don’t want to become that person who leaves the hike in the middle of the route, you can try to get in shape for hiking in a couple of weeks or months before the actual hike.
Most of the time, people only think of hiking as a simple easy stroll through the woods. When in reality it is a lot more demanding than that. Sure, there are short and easy routes. But even those hiking trails will take a lot
Here’s how to get in shape for hiking, from short one day hikes to week-long challenging hikes.
1. Work on your legs!
There are a lot of ways to get in shape for
Anyone who loves the outdoors should never stop working on their legs. Hiking is a full-body outdoor activity. And it’s true that your entire physic should be in good shape. But most part of hiking will require your legs to do things you normally won’t do. Also, the length of a hike is a big reason to exercise your legs.
Recommended exercises for your legs:
2. Focus on your cardiovascular fitness.
Hiking is not a simple activity. It’s going to push your body to its limit every now and then. That’s why you have to amp up your cardio and increase your endurance level. If your cardiovascular fitness is not good enough then you will surely get out of breath quickly. And trust me, you don’t want that happening if you plan on hiking a multi-day route. You’re not working out enough if your heart and lungs give up on you too soon.
Performing cardiovascular fitness exercises is another way to get in shape for hiking. It not only improves your endurance levels. But it also makes sure that you lose fat in the process. Not to mention that your heart rate and breathing rate will also dramatically increase. The benefits of focusing on your cardio fitness are many. It even boosts your metabolism and controls your blood pressure. Perform a cardio routine 5 days a week. But don’t over exert yourself. It takes time and dedication.
Recommended cardiovascular exercises:
- Stair Climber
- Jumping Rope
But if you are thinking about doing regular cardio workout at home then do check out this blog post "5 Best At-Home Cardio Workouts" by Fitness Rhythm. It discusses 5 simple and easy exercises that help improve your cardiovascular health.
3. Give yourself time to prepare
You might feel strong after one work out session in the gym. But keep in mind that your body can’t improve itself overnight. You can't expect yourself to get in shape for hiking without putting in the time and effort required. There are no shortcuts. And your body will ruin itself if you are not careful. Don’t overdo it. Yes, you need to keep up with your daily workout routine. But that does not mean that you have to strain your body to its limit each day.
Some days it pays to take it slow. Especially if you are thinking about going on a hike soon. Unless you plan out your work out sessions in a do-able manner, your body won’t get in shape for hiking in time. Beginners tend to exercise too much at one go. And later their body can’t handle it. So, they miss out going on their hiking trip. Give yourself time to prepare. Remember it takes at least a few weeks to a couple of months to increase your fitness level.
4. Go on short practice hikes
This one’s very important. Going on short practice hikes is necessary to see if all those exercises were worth doing. You can get the feel of how your body has improved in the last couple of days with a few practice hikes. Search for places that have varying terrain and elevations. But avoid going on longer hiking routes. After all, it’s just a practice hike and you have still a lot to improve.
Consider wearing a backpack full of normal hiking essentials on your practice hikes. This way your body will get used to you carrying such body gears. Going on a practice hike can help you determine if your body is in good shape for hiking or not. It will also let your body get used to the feel of hiking with a weighted pack if possible. The practice hikes also give you a chance to break in your boots. Because new hiking boots rarely conform to your feet right out of the box.
Even if you did all the right exercises, your fitness level won’t increase unless you eat
Some may even say committing to a healthy diet is the hardest part. Many can’t come to terms with eating food that does not taste good. But nutrition is important when it comes to getting in shape for hiking. Eating a well-balanced diet will fuel up your body with calories and nutrients. Remember your body can’t magically gain muscle and lose fat unless you eat a healthy diet.
You don’t have to get fit like an Olympic athlete. Having a normal average fitness level is enough for many to enjoy hiking to its fullest. Just make sure that you work out without going overboard. When your body is in good shape, hiking becomes a memorable and rewarding adventure trip. Hiking is much more than just a walk and a little preparation can go a long way. So, don’t forget to prepare your body and get in shape for hiking before you go.
Enjoyed reading this blog? Then why not check out another blog post about “5 Hiking Mistakes You’re Making“.