Hiking is supposed to be fun although it can take a toll on your body if you are ill-prepared. It is imperative to exercise before hitting the trail especially if you happen to be a beginner. One of the best ways to keep your body in shape for hiking is by strength training. Strength training will boost your cardiovascular endurance thus making long hikes or the toughest terrain a piece of cake. It also enhances balance, coordination and joint integrity, attributes that are crucial in descending steep terrains. Read along as we tackle more details on how to get in shape for hiking.
How to get in shape for hiking
1. Build core strength
Core strength is basically the inner strength that enables us to carry out daily tasks such as walking, sitting upright or standing. Hiking puts your core strength to test in an unforgiving manner. This is owing to the rugged and uneven terrain that you will have to encounter. Let’s just say your muscles will be horribly worn out if you do not work on your core strength. Some of the best exercises that help to elevate core strength are crunches and sit-ups.
2. Build lower body strength
There is no fun in exploring nature on an even or flat surface. Hiking is all about being adventurous, climbing mountains and so on. This means your lower body will be in constant motion. Still, you are going to depend on the calf and glutes muscles a lot. They can be toughened by deadlifting and squatting.
Cardio is known to enhance stamina. Stamina is essential in covering long hiking distances. The best forms of cardio training include swimming, cycling and running. It is known to increase lung capacity, lower blood pressure, make the heart strong and most importantly make one fit for hiking.
4. Get flexible
You can attain flexibility by stretching and warming up your muscles. By so doing you will succeed in keeping your muscle health in tip-top condition and also heighten its recovery. Stretching makes the muscles long thus reducing muscle strains and joint pain. Doing it for your hips and legs aids in keeping the hamstring muscle, glutes muscle and hip flexor muscle in top form.
5. Embrace a correct diet
Just like engines need fuel to run, our bodies require food to function. Frankly, hiking is no joke, particularly on rocky or hilly terrain. How you eat prior to your hiking trip determines how things turn out for you. It would be wise to adopt a diet that will help with the exercises. The diet has to include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates. All these foods will keep your body up and running for long. You also need to be energetic on the hiking day. Therefore, pack up some food too.
6. Balance exercises
Balance is very crucial for hiking. Without adequate balance, you are prone to spraining your ankles or incurring worse injuries. Nonetheless, engaging in balance exercises will make your lower legs and ankles robust. You can try jump squats and leg swings for exceptional balance.
7. Mental preparation
You can conquer anything with the right mindset. Hiking for the first time is not exceptional. Remember hiking is a remarkable physical exercise synonymous with endless challenges like broken gear, blisters, unprecedented downpour, cold weather just to mention a few. All this can be overcome by mental strength. Be positive through it all.
Importance of training for hiking beginner
You will definitely regret hitting the trail for the first time without some form of training. Training for your hiking trip will give you a better understanding of your body and also define your physical limits. With regular training, you will be able to make a better judgement on whether to stop or push on while hiking. Nonetheless, training curbs initial overuse injuries as you work out those joints in addition to building strength to tackle the toughest hurdles. On top of that, endurance training aids your body to adapt to the unforgiving hiking conditions. It hardens your cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and respiratory system.
How can I increase my lung capacity for hiking?
I. Hike regularly
You need to be a consistent adventurer if you look to achieve greater lung capacity.
II. Stretch before hiking
Stretching expands rib cage muscles and alleviates tightness on your side body as well as shoulders. This creates more room for air and cultivates more lung capacity.
III. Improve your breathing technique
You can also boost lung capacity through effective breathing exercises. Flawless breathing will keep your body peaceful and relaxed as well.
IV. Work on your stamina
Cardio and strength training will better your stamina through high tolerance and strong muscles. This improves your body’s intake of oxygen resulting in increased lung capacity.
How to increase stamina for hiking?
The best way to increase stamina for hiking is to get on the trail regularly. If this is not a viable option for you then you can try running or walking. They are great workouts and will guarantee increased endurance. Another option would be to hit engage in weight training. Weight training boosts strength in your core and legs not to mention elevating your cardiovascular fitness. It has a huge impact on how long you can hike. Incorporate pushups, kettlebell exercises, squats and deadlifts in your workout routine for better results. Moving on, you can better your breathing technique. Learn to take deep breaths rather than shallow ones. Deep breathing gets more oxygen to your muscles hence lowering fatigue.
How do I improve my cardio for hiking?
The main goal for cardio is to improve lung capacity and endurance. The best way to get this is to go for exercises that amp your heart rate. You can walk, swim, hit a treadmill or ride a bike to improve your cardio.
Physical and mental preparation will ensure that you make the most out of your time in the jungle. Whether you plan to go for a long or short trip, make sure your body is ready to tackle the task beforehand.