Smash Your Fitness Goals: How to Get in Shape for Hiking

Photo by Sébastien Goldberg on Unsplash

Did you know that regular hiking can burn up to 400 calories per hour? That’s almost equivalent to a delicious slice of pepperoni pizza!

Aside from that, hiking is a fantastic way to explore the great outdoors. Picture yourself surrounded by nature’s beauty, conquering rocky terrains, and basking in majestic landscapes.

Doesn’t the mere thought of it make you wanna get out there? If so, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll be your trusty guide, providing you with tips on how to get in shape for hiking.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker looking to elevate your fitness game, we’ve got you covered. Tighten your shoelaces, grab your backpack, and let’s get hiking!

Start with Cardio Training

Before hitting the trails, it’s essential to build up your cardiovascular endurance. Simple outdoor hobbies like walking or cycling are excellent choices to get started. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate cardio most days of the week.

Since hiking involves both uphill and downhill segments, it’s crucial to train your body for these. Hence, consider adding hiking-specific cardio workouts to your routine.

Find a local hill or incline and practice walking up and down regularly. This will help your muscles prepare for the challenges of achieving your fitness goals.

If you live in a flat area with no hills, simulate hiking conditions. Find a stairway or hilly area to mimic the inclines you’ll encounter on hiking trails.

Strengthen Your Leg Muscle

Hiking demands considerable leg strength, as you’ll be navigating various terrains. Thus, incorporate exercises into your workout routine to improve your balance and stability.

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to build leg strength without any equipment. Include exercises like squats, lunges, and calf raises in your routine. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions for each exercise.

If you have access to a gym, hit the leg press machine. It’s excellent for targeting your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Start with a comfortable weight and aim for 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

Remember, always start your leg workouts with a proper warm-up. This could be in the form of light jogging or brisk walking to increase blood flow to your muscles. Similarly, end with a cool-down and stretching to prevent muscle tightness and soreness.

Strength Training for Upper Body

To successfully climb Mount Kilimanjaro, don’t overlook the importance of your upper body. Carrying a backpack and using trekking poles require upper body strength. Incorporate exercises like push-ups, shoulder presses, and rows.

As you progress, include resistance training using dumbbells, resistance bands, or gym machines. These tools provide extra challenges and help you gradually increase your strength.

Also, make sure to work on various muscle groups in your upper body. This includes the chest, shoulders, back, biceps, and triceps.

Flexibility and Stretching

Flexibility is crucial for preventing injuries and improving overall performance. First, prepare your muscles for stretching. You can use a foam roller as it can help reduce muscle knots.

Afterward, perform static stretches. This is where you hold a stretch for 15 to 30 seconds without bouncing. Focus on major muscle groups like hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, hips, and shoulders.

Pay attention to your body’s alignment during stretching. Maintain good posture and avoid arching your back. Putting unnecessary pressure on your joints is also not ideal.

Avoid pushing yourself too hard during stretching. You should feel a gentle stretch, not pain. If a stretch is too intense, ease off or change the position.

Gradually Increase Hike Duration and Difficulty

If you’re new to hiking or getting back into shape, start with shorter and easier trails. Pushing yourself too hard at the beginning can lead to injuries and burnout. Therefore, be patient with your progress.

Avoid overexertion by increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts. Start with shorter and easier hikes. As your fitness level improves, take on more challenging trails.

Staying Hydrated: Hydration Schedule

Typically, you’ll have a limited water supply with only a bottle or two in hand when you go on hikes. Hence, you must train yourself how to rehydrate for long or short climbs.

One way to do this is to establish a hydration schedule. Take small sips of water at regular intervals, such as every 15-20 minutes.

Do this even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty. This helps maintain your body’s hydration levels consistently.

Stick to water as your primary source of hydration to keep your body well-balanced. While refreshing, sports drinks contain high sugar and caffeine, which can lead to dehydration in the long run.

Mind Your Diet

Diet education is part of knowing how to get in shape for hiking. You have to establish your stomach to sustain the energy levels needed for outdoor hobbies.

One of the many fitness tips for a diet you should pay attention to is staying clear of heavy, greasy foods. These can cause discomfort during the hike and may not provide the sustained energy you need.

Instead, opt for a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Some ideal choices include red meat, nuts, and dried fruits.

Also, mind your portions. Remember that on actual hikes, you need to avoid overeating during breaks. Thus, cater to your eating habits so that you stick to small, frequent eating sessions.

Rest and Recovery

Allow your body enough time to recover between hikes and workouts. Adequate rest is essential for muscle repair and growth. This in turn will help you improve your hiking abilities over time

Listen to Your Body

When you go on hikes and do your workouts, you have to watch your body closely. If you experience pain, take a break and let your body recover. Ignoring warning signs could lead to injuries.

Invest in Proper Footwear and Gear

Invest in a pair of sturdy, well-fitting hiking boots that provide excellent ankle support. Among many hiking tips, this is important as proper gear can significantly impact your hiking experience.

Make sure to break your hiking boots before embarking on longer hikes. Start by wearing them for a short walk initially. Then, on longer hikes progressively, prevent blisters during your hiking adventures.

Conquer the Trails with Our Tips on How to Get in Shape for Hiking

Getting in shape for hiking doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these simple tips on how to get in shape for hiking, you can prepare your body for the trails.

Remember, to start slowly but consistently. Keep a positive mindset and stay consistent. Soon enough, you’ll be conquering those hiking trails like a pro!

Interested in reading more tips, tricks, and life hacks such as this one? Keep browsing through our site!

Photo by Sébastien Goldberg on Unsplash