There is no better physical and mental exercise than taking a hiking trip in the outdoors. All at the same time, you train your body and clear your mind, while spending some quality time in nature.
Even though taking short hikes is good for you, it’s even better when you go on a long distance backpacking trip. The longer the time you hike, the better for your muscles, lungs, and mind.
I used to take short, two-hour hikes in the forest near my home. After a while, I realized that I could do much more than hike just for few hours. Unfortunately, I made a mistake when I decided to extend my hiking trip without preparing and exercising for it.
I hiked for 12 hours, and it felt great. But, when I woke up the next day, I couldn’t do anything. Every muscle in my body hurt, and I could barely walk. After that, I decided to prepare and get in shape, before ever going on a long-distance hiking trip again.
So, if you plan to build up your hiking skills, and extend the length of the hikes, you have to prepare first.
For you to enjoy and handle the longer and more challenging hikes, you need to get in shape. If you’re planning a long-distance backpacking trip, make sure that you get into a fitness regimen at least one month before the journey. You’ll get in better shape and boost your enjoyment you get from your hiking.
Here are few tips on how to physically prepare for your next big hiking trip.
To build some endurance for your hiking trip, you need to do some cardio exercises. Start by working out three times a week for 30 minutes, and increase the intensity and length gradually. After one month, you should be able to do four one-hour long cardio sessions per week.
Make sure that you do different cardio exercises. Try trail running, or get on the treadmill, or stair climber, to achieve that cardiovascular exercise. You can exercise in a gym, at home, or take short, intense hikes on a hilly trail.
It takes only one to two hours, but hiking fitness will help you to get in that shape you want. Start the hike by warming up with a 20-minute walk. After that, slowly start to increase your pace, and continue doing so until you reach your goal distance. If you can hike at a faster pace, do it. You want to get your heart rate elevated and your blood pumping.
For more info about fitness hiking, make sure you follow this link.
Carry a backpack
When you go on a long distance hiking trip, it’s not just the cardio endurance you have to worry about. Don’t forget that you will carry a big pack with equipment, food, and drinks. So, to get used to the weight on your back, grab the backpack you plan to wear on the big adventure and carry it around for several weeks. Pack the bag with some water bottles, and wear it during your short hikes, or home cardio exercises. Start by carrying 15 pounds of weight, and slowly increase it to 35 lbs, since that’s the approximate weight you are likely to carry on a backpacking trip.
Hike once a week
Taking long and steady hiking trips once a week will help you get prepared for the big one. Start by hiking one to two hours in the beginning, and increase the length each time you go on a hike. Make sure that you carry a backpack filled with 15 pounds of weight. Increase the weight of the backpack as well on each weekly hike.
Mix the exercises
After cardio and hiking exercises, it’s time to do something different and change the routine. Take one day, and try doing something else, like playing tennis, riding a bike, or doing a yoga class. This so-called “active rest,” will help your body to activate the other muscles you might have neglected while letting those you’ve been putting under stress time to repair and strengthen.
To ensure balance and stability on your big hiking adventure, add some core exercises to your routine. You will be preparing for your trip, and workout on your abs as well. The best thing about core exercises is that they don’t take too much time, and can be done at home.
Do some core exercises a few times a week for 5 to 10 minutes per session. The easiest and most known exercise is “the plank.” Try to hold the plank for 10 seconds, and increase the time each week, until you reach 45 seconds to one minute.
Hopefully, these tips will help you prepare for your next backpacking adventure. Make sure that you take your time and get in shape for it. You do not want to make the same mistake as I did.
Also, make sure that you don’t forget to have fun while you prepare for the hike, and when you ‘re out on your big adventure.
Follow this link to read more tips on how to take bigger and longer hikes
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