Hiking is one of the most exciting yet challenging adventures you can have.
It may seem simple, but mind you, this is no walk in the park. The physical demands of hiking require you to be in good shape. Strength and balance are very important as you will encounter a lot of uphill trails.
Preparing for a hike is very important. Your current fitness level will give you a hint on what type of exercises you need for your much-awaited hike. Not only that, consider the level of difficulty of your hiking trail.
Is Body Conditioning Necessary?
Definitely! First, it is best to consult your doctor about what kind of body conditioning or exercises you need. Remember, each of us has a different body structure and health conditions. According to Mayo Clinic, it is still best to have yourself checked first to determine what kind of exercise is suitable for you.
Do remember that hiking is not just long walks. Don’t be overconfident that you do this regularly. It is still better to prepare for the hike.
I Do Brisk Walking Every Day. Why Do I Still Need to Train?
Yes, walking is a good start. Mind the last two words: GOOD START.
However, walking isn’t enough to help you last longer in your hiking trail.
Start your walking exercise from shorter to longer distances. This way, your muscles will be prepared gradually, especially when taking long hikes.
- Walk with your backpack. You may start from carrying a light one, to the exact same size and the weight you will carry.
- Walk in different paths. If ever you have a chance to walk in uneven areas around you, take this opportunity so your feet will get used to it.
- Do this for two to three times a week for at least 30 minutes. This way, you give your muscles enough time to stretch.
Benefits of Training
Do not underestimate hiking. If not taken seriously, it will give you serious injuries. This is the reason why hikers really prepare and are very serious about it.
Have fun while staying active: WebMD notes that one of the benefits of exercising is the release of happy hormones. It also gives you more strength that will be beneficial to you every day.
Reduce body pains: Our bodies are like machines. If not cared for, it may malfunction. Once your body is properly tuned up for your hike, all the muscles, tendons and ligaments will help support your body during your climb. It will also help develop muscle memory in times of difficult trails.
Hiking Exercises for You
First things first! STRETCH.
Every exercise or training starts with proper stretching. This warms up your body for the strenuous battle you will do. The absence of stretching can give you injuries. Imagine buying a car without test driving it. Do you think you’ll be safe on the road without knowing its different maneuvers? Dangerous, right? Same thing with your body.
Calf: Find a wall for support. Step back with your right foot, pointing your toes to the wall. Bend your other leg forward. Do this for 20-30 seconds. Switch legs afterward.
Shoulder: Stand straight with legs apart. Rotate your shoulders in forwarding manner. Do this for 15 seconds. Repeat in a reverse manner.
Hamstring: Stand while crossing the right foot over the left. Lower your forehead towards your right knee by bending your waist. Do this for 20-30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Wrist: Extend arm with palm facing the ceiling. Use your other hand to press the fingers toward the floor and back to the body. Do this for 20 seconds.
Mountain Climbers: Get into a push-up position. Bring your right foot forward towards your right elbow. Switch legs by bringing your left foot to your left elbow. Continue this for 30 seconds.
Planks: There are different kinds of planks. You may do all or one of them. Let’s do the side plank for this one. Go to your push-up position in sideways, resting your forearms while bending the elbow. Keep your body as straight as possible for about 30 seconds.
Russian Twists: Go to a push-up position. Raise back from the ground until it forms into a 45-degree angle. Twist your torso to the right, then to the left. Repeat for 30 seconds.
This exercises, you can actually start early. Walking is part of it, so if you have already incorporated it in your routine, good job!
Now, you may also want to try swimming, running and even biking. You can do this three or four times a week for about 30 minutes. It is also recommended to do a simple day hike before the actual one so you can test your strength and build agility and balance.
Enjoy Your Hike!
Above all the given exercises for hiking, the most important thing is for you to enjoy.
If this is your first time hiking, you do the above exercises regularly not only when preparing for a hike, but also a form of your regular exercise.
You will see, during or after your hike, that you have more strength because you came prepared. Have fun and climb to the top!