Getting Fit to Hike, Not Just Hiking To Get Fit
Maybe that’s not entirely accurate, but it really does run both ways you know. If you are new to hiking, or are planning to increase your hiking experience then it’s important that you get yourself in good shape for hiking. Hiking is great fun and an extremely enjoyable way to spend a few days and get at one with nature, and although many of us enjoy the challenge of pushing ourselves to the limit, suffering exhaustion miles from anywhere in the back of beyond is not fun by anybody’s standards. That’s why it’s important that you start off slowly, and build yourself up to your peak hiking fitness.
There are lots of things to consider when you are planning a hike, I mean, just because you can walk quite comfortably for a few hours over flat terrain with your dog on a leash, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you’ll be able to carry a 30 pound backpack over hilly terrain and come out at the other end completely unscathed.
Getting In Shape For Hiking – Take It Slowly
Even experienced seasonal hikers need to follow this advice at the beginning of their hiking adventures each year. Start off slowly and build up from there. Start off with short hikes, maybe a couple of times a week without worrying about carrying a heavy load. We’re talking around 2 or 3 miles carrying maybe a small day-pack, just somewhere to put your snack basically. Make sure that these starter hikes are over easy terrain and in nice weather, just to break yourself in gently . . . remember, you’re doing this for fun and hiking is just about the best fun you can have with your clothes on, just so long as you are in good shape to handle it.
That looks like a terrific place to start hiking, for all the family.
Keep on hiking further and further until you can cover around 9 or 10 miles in comfort, there’s no rush, there are some really enjoyable hikes of this distance, and some hikers will have already achieved their goal, but there are always those who want to achieve more, much more. For those who envisage conquering longer multiple day hikes, then you’ve gotta keep on training to get in shape for some really serious hiking business.
Now that you’ve conquered an impressive distance, it’s time to start increasing the weight of your backpack, you might be surprised at what a difference it makes. Add more gear to your backpack, food, drinks etc until you can comfortably cover a hike of 9 or 10 miles whilst carrying a 30lb backpack . . . now you’re really getting somewhere and are ready to enjoy some full day hikes, and start to vary the terrain you can cover. A 10 mile hike over flat terrain is a completely different ball game to hiking 9 or 10 miles with lots of ups and downs and large vertical gains. Keep on hiking over increased distances and more difficult terrain, whilst carrying a 30 pound pack and you’ll soon be able to increase the weight of your back pack until you are ready and able to carry everything you need for a multiple day hike and ready to conquer any type of terrain which mother nature can throw at you.
Speed Ladder training is a great way to really improve your fitness and stamina. There are lots of different speed ladder exercises and training programs which you can do, some of them might seem quite familiar (remember Hopscotch?) and working with a speed ladder really will help to increase your footwork, balance, stamina, co-ordination, energy . . . all of those things which can help to decrease discomfort and pain whilst increasing the enjoyment of your hike over even the most challenging terrain.
Hiking With Dogs
If you like to take “Sonny” or “Charlie” or “Buster” or “Ranger” with you on a hike, make sure that he has plenty of exercise to get fit too, and when the weather gets really hot, show him how much you love him by leaving him at home.