There’s nothing quite like getting out and exploring the great outdoors. Whether it’s going to the beach, driving into a national park for a road trip or getting out hiking – it’s all beneficial for mind, body and soul.
And bush walking, or hiking, is a brilliant way to spend time outside. You get to exercise, as well as being able to witness some breathtaking views and vistas along the way.
But what if your willingness to go hiking doesn’t match up to your fitness levels? This can be a barrier to longer hikes, as you need some physical endurance to make it on longer, or even multiple-day hikes. So, in this article, we’ll become a hiking boots helper and teach you how to get in shape for hiking.
The first tip is to start small. If you’re completely new to hiking, you might want to consider some longer walks around a familiar neighborhood – perhaps close to home or work. Get your hiking boots on and try to aim for a one to one and a half-hour walk at first. Do this a few times a week, and you’ll begin to build up your fitness and endurance.
Then, once you have built up this regime, try a small hike to start with. A two hour round trip hike is just the ticket for this, and chances are you’ll have a trail relatively close to your home city to explore.
Do Some Cardio
Cardio exercise is another great way to build up your fitness and endurance levels to get you hike-ready. This way your body gets used to extended periods of exertion, which will mimic what happens when you go for a long hike.
There are a few different ways you can do some steady cardio. Running or jogging is one, as is swimming and cycling. Incorporate a few hours of cardio exercise a week into your schedule and begin to build that fitness from the ground up.
Build Core Strength
Core strength is important for hiking because it helps you to stay balanced on uneven ground – perfect for ascending or descending steep tracks or making your way over rocky ground.
You can build core strength quickly by doing crunches, or even planking.
Work on Your Upper Body
If you’re planning a multi-day hike you’ll have to carry a pack with your camping equipment, food and water. This will be a relatively heavy load to carry, so it’s worth investing some time into building your upper body strength. You can do this by doing push-ups or weight training at the gym.
Like any exercise, you’ll only benefit from training to prepare for a hike if you implement a disciplined routine into your week. Pick days of the week to focus on different training – one day for cardio, one for core strength, one for upper body and so on. But don’t forget to couple with adequate rest to allow your muscles to regenerate as well as a healthy and balanced diet.
Start small and work your way up – a long walk around your local area is a great place to start. Cardio exercise is a great way to build your endurance levels, and don’t neglect to develop your core strength. Work on your upper body to prepare for carrying a hiking pack, this will help immensely. And finally, implement a disciplined exercise regime into your week, allowing time for rest too. Don’t forget that diet is important as well – balanced and healthy is the way to go.