Hiking is no piece of cake. It requires a lot of full body strength, stamina, control, and patience. You need to truly understand the activity before embarking on your first hike. Hiking requires determination, commitment, and the right mindset.
Unlike other outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and camping, hiking is more physically demanding. It challenges a person’s physical strength and stamina and tests how far you are willing to go. The trail is often dangerous and extremely difficult, which is why you need adequate preparation, whether it’s preparing your body for the hiking trip or choosing the right hiking gear. As a beginner, you may underestimate the importance of physical training and exercise to get in shape for your hiking trip.
However, if you are new or aspire to triumph more challenging trails, some pre-trip training can help big time. Hiking is not just walking in the woods and wearing fancy gear; it’s about how much strength and balance your body has. So, if you think you can just get off your couch and summit the trail in no time, you are wrong. Most trails are long, uneven, and at an elevation. Hence, even the simplest and easiest hike requires some formal training and planning. The good news is that training for a hike is not as difficult as you might think.
All you need to do is start with some basic exercises to warm up your body and do some hardcore strength and muscle training while building up your stamina. Most importantly, consistency is the key to preparing your body for a full-fled hiking trip. You need to train and exercise for at least four to six weeks before you can go on a hiking trip. The longer and harder you train, the more ready you will feel when the big day comes, and it’s finally time to embark on your hiking trip.
In this article, we will highlight the best tips and exercises you will need to prepare your body for a hiking trip. Read on to explore more.
A Quick Overview
The exercises target the core areas that power up when you go for a hike, such as your core and leg muscles. Here’s a simple breakdown:
Strengthening major muscle groups: The core and leg muscles support the hiker’s body as they make their way up, carrying heavy loads on their backs.
Building up endurance: Again, building up endurance in the core and leg muscle groups as hiking is a long and challenging activity.
Improving balance: You need to be able to balance your body on uneven trails.
Add in some cardio: A little cardio like running on a treadmill or cycling is another great way to prepare our body for a hike.
Consistent Training Schedule to Prepare for a Hike
Start training at least eight weeks before you plan on going for a hike. Create a good and balanced mix of workouts for each week. For example:
- Two days of alternate strength training
- Two Days of alternate rests
- Three cardio sessions on alternate days in the last two weeks before the hike is scheduled
- Two weeks before the trip, switch to longer cardio sessions like walking on a treadmill for as long as an hour while carrying a load similar to what you will be carrying on the actual trip on your back
- Take a rest a day or two before your trip to gain strength
Tips for Training for Hiking
Here are some easy tips to remember while you train for hiking:
- Do the exercises that are best for your body, not the other way round
- It’s okay to modify certain exercises if they hurt
- Take a rest when you need to
- Go at your own pace and do what feels right
- Don’t forget to warm up with a short walk before you get to exercising
- Inhale and exhale during slow exercises
- Breathe regularly during fast exercises
- Rest for at least 30 seconds at the end of each set
- Follow a consistent training schedule
Exercises for Hiking
Jump squats are a great full-body workout that focuses on the lower body and leg muscles, which are used the most during a hike.
Most of the weight you carry during a hike rests on your hips. Hip rolls work your glutes, improving stability and stamina.
Another great exercise to strengthen your glutes and build up endurance, this exercise prepares you for uneven and difficult trails.
This exercise helps build control, preventing any knee or leg injuries as you walk along uneven surfaces.
The king of all workouts, lunges, are a must-have exercise on the list. It’s even better if you do lunges while holding a couple of weights in your hands.
This exercise will target your upper body as you will need strength to carry heavy backpacks and push against the wind as you go up.
Note: Do each exercise in succession and take a two-minute rest. Repeat the set at least two more times.
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