Ways in which you can get into shape for a perfect backpacking experience!!

Whereas you don’t need to be a regular athlete to enjoy a summer hiking trip, you have to admit, a bit of fitness goes a long way to help. You don’t want to spoil your fun just for some inane fitness issues. Why waste a good trip when you can easily incorporate some basic exercise regimens that will ensure complete fitness during your hiking trip? Here goes…

Need for backpacking fitness:

Backpacking is a fun sport because you can enjoy it at your own pace. But a moderate level of fitness becomes mandatory given the different terrains you will be hiking through. The terrain itself decides the amount you need to work on your physical fitness.

Hiking on flat prairies is a different experience from mountain hiking in the Canadian Rockies. The terrain decides which muscles of your body will undergo more usage. So you need to work on your legs, your shoulders and build up your stamina considerably.

3 Phases of Pre-hiking Fitness:

As long as you maintain a minimum level of fitness, you can easily attain the ideal fitness in 8 weeks. And all that without expensive gym memberships or grilling exercise regimens!

There are 3 phases of pre-hiking fitness monitoring:

1.    Get your basics right : This includes incorporating a fitness routine to work on your balance, strength, and flexibility. Above all, assess your level of fitness before you take the plunge.
2.    Endurance test: This includes working on your stamina, and this means heavy-duty cardio and aerobic exercises.
3.    Maximization of exercise and working up to your goal: This is when you push yourself and actually exert yourself in an activity that burns an equal amount of energy as in an actual hike.

Fitness pointers for a hiking trip:

Hiking sounds fun, but it puts some real strain on your abdominal muscles, your shoulders, and legs. So start working on the basics and incorporate more repetitions and variety as you near your actual trip.

Here are some pointers that you need to take note of:

  • Work your legs: Your legs need proper conditioning so that you can endure the extensively long walks. But you don’t really need to hit the gym for it, variety and repetitive leg motions are the keywords.
  • Start with stretches and warm ups.
  • Move on to taking walks around your neighborhood. Extend the duration and length of such walks. Make sure you take frequent breaks as and when necessary.
  • Then move on to a hilly terrain, try to walk uphill to get your legs used to it. Challenge a steeper slope as you master yourself with hilly terrains.
Cardio exercise: When you go off hiking, you traverse changing altitudes and elevations. It helps if you work on some simple cardio exercises and build up your stamina.
  • You can either workout on treadmills or you can go jogging, cycling and try out other such aerobic exercises. Go swimming if you love water.
  • Weightlifting also helps, as you will have a heavy load strapped to your back during your trip. It is best you work on it so that you aren’t out of breath while carrying heavy backpacks through changing altitudes and terrains.
  • You can also climb stairs as part of your fitness routine. By the end of the regimen, you should mimic the actual hike and carry heavy loads on difficult landscapes.

Off season fitness:
Training yourself just prior to a trip is not very ideal. You should actually maintain a regular fitness regimen, and stay fit even during winter, or the off seasons. You can use the same exercise patterns with greater benefits during winter.

Regular Abdominal exercises and cardio are a must even during off season!

Now that you know what will help you keep fit and enjoy your backpacking trip, just get on with it!! ?