How can I prepare for hiking? How to stay in shape for hiking may be a better question.
There is no set time of year for trekking. However, in many areas of the northern hemisphere, the weather and trail conditions are only favorable for trekking from late spring through mid-November. Some places are mild and hiker-friendly year-round. For day hikes, backpacking, mountain climbing, and scrambling, that’s six whole months. There’s no reason you can’t access the backcountry all year long if you add snowshoes or skis.
However, if you believe that you can simply get up off the couch after a protracted break, put on your boots, and hit the trail, reconsider. Even the simplest hikes require balance and strength to prevent injury because most trails are uneven and have at least some elevation gain. The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think to get back into the routine.
Begin With These Basic Hiking Fitness Tips
Ankle sprains and rolling of the ankles are two of the most frequent hiking injuries. Start with some simple exercises to warm up your muscles and raise your heart rate if you’re out of shape or haven’t been active in a while.
Run or Walk In Sand.
It strengthens the muscles that guard your ankles and knees.
Build Range of Motion
Get a resistance band to help your muscles extend fully while strengthening them. This can also be accomplished by standing on a tennis ball or balancing disc, which strengthens the tiny stabilizer muscles at the ankle and knee.
You’ll be able to maintain your balance on uneven surfaces by strengthening your core.
Lunges and Squats
To build up the muscles in your core, squat and lunge slowly while maintaining a straight back.
On lengthy expeditions where you must carry a heavy pack, having strong upper body muscles, particularly in your back, will be beneficial.
This is as simple to obtain as taking a trail. (City-dweller? It also works to use the treadmill or stationary cycle at your neighborhood gym.) Whatever option you select, be sure to raise your heart rate. Your lung capacity will increase as a result, allowing you to hike farther.
Weight your pack (start with 20 lbs.) and climb onto a park bench that is between 16 and 18 inches high before a backpacking trip. Up until your pack is as heavy as it will be during your hike, add 5 pounds per week. Do this exercise three times per week until you can complete 700 steps in less than 30 minutes to get ready for a long, multi-day hike.
Build Out Your Home Gym
With just a few basic pieces of equipment, you can complete all the exercises on this page.
Free weights: You may quickly and precisely weigh your pack while lifting with a basic set of dumbbells.
Resistance band: In addition to being useful for leg-strengthening exercises such as lunges, resistance bands can also be used as a rehab tool to ease shin splints.
Shoes: If you’re cross-training, you can wear your trail shoes, but something flatter will allow you to lift weights and run on pavement without the unsteadiness of aggressive tread.
Training For a Day Hike
Celebrate the nice weather with a day hike, especially if you’re new to hiking or haven’t been out in the woods in a while. However, before you push your body past the limits of an afternoon stroll, let it know. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare your body for a hike you have planned for this weekend.
– Two or three times a week, go for a walk by yourself. Move quickly enough to raise your heart rate, then maintain it for at least 30 minutes.
– Make sure you put on the same shoes you’ll be hiking in. Walking over an extended period of time in shoes you haven’t worn in a long time is a surefire method to develop blisters (or at all).
– Take a light daypack with you on your weekday walks. By doing so, you’ll make sure that you’re equipped to carry your necessary equipment.
How to Avoid Injury on Steep and Rocky Trails
Don’t be fooled: downhill hiking is hard on your legs, toes, and especially knees. It might seem like a welcome break after a strenuous hike to the top of a peak. Your body is supporting its own weight in addition to the weight of your backpack when hiking downhill in order to prevent falling. Injury could result from this continuous pressure. Joint strain can also result from stumbling over rocks and uneven terrain. The best prevention is to work out before the hike to prepare your body for the challenge.