After the long winter and working out in a closed environment, it’s time to shake things up. It’s finally time to leave the gym, and try something new, fresh, and outdoors. No more running on treadmills and spinning classes. Now you can break the monotony and do some hiking fitness.
There are plenty of ways to workout while you take a hike in your favorite area. I experienced that myself. When I first started hiking, I didn’t see it as a way to exercise but rather as a walk in nature. But after few times I realized that I could actually benefit from these so called walks. I was already out on the hills, so why couldn’t I push myself a little bit more. So, I did my research and started to do fitness hiking. It was a revelation.
Many people might think that they need to spend a couple of hours or more on a hike and that they can only do it on holidays and weekends. It doesn’t necessarily have to be like that. You could take a quick 60 to 90-minutes hike and still get great results.
If you want to try fitness hiking, here are few tips on how to prepare for it, and how to do it.
Find the right trail
The best trails for fitness hiking are the ones which have inclines and declines in the terrain. So, before heading out, do some research on trails around you. They should have hilly terrain, be accessible, and be close to your home or office. The different angles of the ground will work your quadriceps and hamstrings and intensify your aerobic workout.
Get a company
Having someone with you on the trail is a great motivational tool. So, grab a friend the next time you go out fitness hiking. Just make sure that your partner can handle the same pace as you, and can hike intensely for 45 to 90 minutes. At the same time, you will have the company and motivation to reach further goals.
Like every other sports activity, when you hike you will lose a lot of fluids. In the summer there is the heat from the sun, that also accelerates the dehydration process. That’s why it’s crucial to stay hydrated all the time. Make sure you always have a bottle of water with you and finishing it before reaching the end of the hike.
Follow this link to find out more on how to stay hydrated when you’re in nature.
Before hitting the trails, you have to warm-up and do some stretching exercises. Make sure you do a dynamic, not static stretching to wake up your muscles. While static stretching is good after a workout, run, or hike, before it, you should do a dynamic stretch.
Here are few ways of doing a dynamic stretch:
- Butt kick: run about 100 to 150 feet with short steps and quick succession. While you run, with each step bring your heel back to your butt. Make sure that you keep your arms pumping away. Repeat this action for few times by turning around and run back.
- High knees: with your shoulders, hips, and knees face forward and run for about 100 feet. While running, raise your knees higher than usual, and move your feet as fast as possible. Turn around, and repeat the action.
- Walking lunges: step forward with big steps for about 30 feet. As you walk, drop your back knee to the ground and lower your back Make sure that your front knee is at the same vertical line with your toes. Repeat the action few times.
After you do the dynamic stretching, start hiking at a steady pace. Once you start walking there is no stopping. Fitness hiking is not a leisure activity, and there is no time to stop and chill.
Try to ramp up the pace every 15 minutes, speed up your walking. If you can hike faster, go for it.
Be careful when you go downhills. Make sure that you slow down since it requires more control and core and leg strength.
If the trail has a lot of steep declines, you could try hiking with trekking poles. They provide stability and relief for your knees and feet and also get your arms involved in the workout.
With the help of hiking fitness, you can boost your cardio, put different muscles to work, and burn some fat. At the same time, you’ll clean your body and mind. So, grab your shoes and get out there.
If you have any comments then please drop us a message on our Outdoor Revival Facebook page
If you have a good story to tell or blog let us know about it on our FB page, we’re also happy for article or review submissions, we’d love to hear from you.
We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.
Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoor