How to get in shape for a multi-day hike

Find out how to prepare for your next hike

Are you planning a multi-day trek? To live an unforgettable experience it is important to be well prepared before starting the hike. A multi-day hike is very intense and requires your body to be in good shape. However, this is often underestimated. It demands more from your body than a day hike or your typical gym routine. Here’s how to train for a hiking trip:

Why is it important to train for a hike?

Training for a hike puts your body in proper physical condition, reducing the risk of injuries such as ankle sprains and backpacking paralysis. Aside from that, being out of shape will lead to exhaustion and soreness, which will detract from your enjoyment. Being fit reduces these difficulties and allows you to truly enjoy the hike and concentrate on the scenery and surroundings.

Physical preparation for a hike

Now that we know why it is important to prepare for a hike, let’s look at how to prepare for a hike. First of all, it is essential that you take into account your current fitness level. It is important to listen to your body and increase your level based on what your body will allow you to do.

It is advisable to start preparing a month in advance and create a hiking training program to get your body ready for intense days of hiking.

The main thing to train

  • Increase endurance/physical condition
  • Increase muscle strength
  • Balance training
  • Getting used to the walking equipment

Ways to increase endurance and physical condition

Developing endurance increases the time the body is able to perform physical activities. This is very important for a long distance hike, as you will have to walk for a long period of time. Cardio and short weekly walks are perfect ways to increase your endurance.

Cardio: Increase your heart rate to increase your lung capacity for longer walks. This can be done by, for example, running, cycling, swimming, etc. Start with the level that suits your body and increase and expand the level little by little to get your body in perfect shape.

Weekly short walks: Take a short walk 3 to 4 times a week. This will not only improve your endurance, but also build muscle.

Ways to strengthen the muscles

  • Walking and running in the sand strengthens the knees and ankles, which are necessary for a long walk.
  • Push-ups and sit-ups will train your upper body, which will help you carry your pack.
  • Lift weights to strengthen muscles of the whole body.
  • Step-ups: Climbing up and down steps while wearing a backpack strengthens upper and lower body muscles.

Ways of training balance

Having good balance is very important during a hike, as there will most likely be uneven surfaces, sharp rocks and slippery areas. Therefore, balance exercises are very helpful. Think of exercises such as the one-legged deadlift, the flamingo pose and the yoga pose. Start practicing them on a flat surface and, over time, try them on uneven surfaces and use weights to make them even more challenging.

Getting used to the ride

Practice walking with your walking boots and backpack. Start by wearing your walking slippers around the house and, over time, wear them during your weekly walks. This allows your feet to get used to them, which reduces the likelihood of blisters and other discomfort. The same goes for backpacking. It’s important to train your back to carry a heavy backpack. First, start with a light backpack and gradually increase it to the weight you will be carrying on the hike. This will train your shoulder and back muscles.

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