Healthy Hiking: Best Tips to Keep Yourself in Great Shape
Does the idea of exploring nature and conquering mountains fill you with great excitement? Well, you might want to consider hiking. This activity is great for everyone—kids, adults and seniors all love it and even teens tolerate it (like everything else in their tortured little lives). And hiking is especially good if you want to improve your health, lose some weight and get that coveted bubble butt. While hiking sounds very easy, it requires some preparation that will ensure you’re safe and comfortable on the trail.
Prepare your body
First things first, prepare your body for your hike. Just because you know how to walk doesn’t mean you can hit big trails and blaze through them. In general, it takes your body anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to notice any improvement in fitness levels, so make sure to start your shorter walks now, especially if you already organized your hike.
Grab some good gear
While you can do short walks in any sort of footwear, long hikes require something more serious. After a few hours of walking, even the most comfortable shoes will start to feel tight and heavy, so grabbing some quality gear is crucial. Also, you never know when horrible weather can strike—weather forecasts lie more than your local politicians, so think water-proof and sturdy. If you really like to be prepared, have some good shoes for disasters that will keep you looking stylish even in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Hey, what are you going to do when zombies start chasing you and you don’t have your microthread, 3D-printed HOVR Phantoms?
Strengthen your legs
You need leg strength both for defeating zombies and long hikes, so make sure not to skip leg day, bro. Exercising legs is a great idea for both young and senior hikers, since your legs will be carrying you and doing most of the work. So, consider adding some lunges, squats and calf raises to your workouts. You can also find a bench, step on and off, slowly increasing your tempo. If you love to do your workouts at the gym, make sure to set your treadmill to a bigger incline to really put your calves to work.
Work on your cardio
Every hiking adventure, and especially those more demanding, require you to be in great cardiovascular shape. Your safest bet is to hit HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and you’ll improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels—you’ll definitely need big bursts of strength during your hike.
Strengthen your back
For longer adventures, you’ll definitely need a big backpack. While these usually look heavier than they are, you’ll need some good back strength. You can throw your backpack on and practice some step-ups. These will kick your behind, but also prepare you for the weight you’ll be carrying on your hike. Planks with a loaded pack will improve your back strength, but also hit your core, shoulders and entire upper body.
Improve your balance
If you fall somewhere on your track and wreck your ankle, your party might need to leave you for the wolves and Bigfoots. Just kidding—they would probably leave a flask of water to keep you company. No, now for real, make sure you’re stable on your feet to prevent injury. Try walking heel-to-toe with arms akimbo or just imitate a flamingo and stand on one foot as long as you can. These are some easy balancing exercise that you can do whenever you have a few minutes.
Once you’re ready for your first long hike, you’ll already see great improvements in your fitness and health levels. Just imagine how good you’ll feel and look when you really get deeper into hiking!