I believe that we as human beings can be put into two categories, those that already hike and those of us that should be hiking.
The reason for hiking is not just to explore and enjoy nature, but it also gives great benefits in terms of physical and mental health.
Often people don’t like to work out because the thought of being in a gym day today staring at the same four walls can be quite tedious. Hiking is a great compromise: a workout without having to stay inside. Whether you are into hiking or just about to start, there are some things you can do before beginning to get yourself prepared.
Hiking can be difficult for people who are not in good shape because often it involves hills and varying terrains and that’s just hard work. Walking in the outdoors uses lots of different muscles all over your body as well as your legs. Some effort needs to be put into improving these, prior to starting to hike, as will help considerably.
Someone who is going hiking needs to have a decent level of cardiovascular fitness before starting any serious hikes, you need to make sure you have the stamina needed to last the whole trip. Not being able to continue your hike when you’re in the middle of the wilderness can lead to some serious problems so it’s best avoided.
There are some simple exercises that anyone can do to get into better shape, so when it’s time to go hiking there will be enough strength and stamina to see you through and to avoid injury.
Stretching is the best way to warm up and make any sort of workout easier because it prepares the muscles that are going to be used. Simple stretches for the hamstrings, quadriceps (thighs), calves and back will help.
Start to walk in your local neighborhood and gradually increasing both your speed and distance will prepare your muscles and stamina before you get out on the trails.
Another good workout is squats. Try some simple squats at first; it’s best to ease into it to avoid getting too sore. As time goes on, you can work your way up to doing more squats more often. You might start doing about ten squats a day and gradually build up the number and frequency of these. Squats help you create powerful legs that really help with walking up and down hills.
People often underestimate the importance of core and back muscles in hiking, core strength is essential to good health and staying injury free. Often, when someone goes hiking, they are going to be carrying a backpack or other supplies with them. This can be tiring and it will feel progressively heavier as time goes on until eventually, you become exhausted. As tiredness sets in it is more likely that an injury will occur.
Sit-ups are a good exercise to help prepare you for a hiking trip. When you develop a strong core, it makes it easier to stay upright longer, and you can go longer distances or even carry more weight if you need to. In addition to the sit-ups try getting into a plank position and holding this for as long as possible, multiple 30 second stints can help build strength quickly. Aim to increase the duration that you can hold this position.
Another workout that is great for hiking fitness and strength is rowing. Using a rowing machine is a full body workout and a great way to get your legs and back into amazing shape, while building up stamina and cardio fitness.
There are many exercises you can do to prepare for a hiking trip; the choice will depend on which activity you enjoy doing the most, just remember though that it’s a good idea to get as fit as you can before getting out there into the wilderness for your next adventure.
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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.
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