If you’re a beginner hiker, or even an experienced one, there are certain exercises you should be doing to stay in hiking shape. With the right preparation, you can avoid common hiking injuries like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and hiker’s knee. In addition to general fitness exercises, incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your routine can prepare your body for the bursts of strength you’ll need on the trail.
HIIT is a type of exercise that alternates between lower-body and upper-body exercises, and can include cardiovascular workouts like running or walking. It focuses on short periods of intense exertion, followed by rest. This type of exercise is perfect for preparing your body for the bursts of exertion you’ll encounter on a hiking adventure, and also helps improve endurance.
You can easily incorporate HIIT into your home fitness routine by adding a few minutes of higher intensity exercise to your daily walks, runs, or swimming workouts. This will help improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness, as well as get you ready for the hiking adventures you’ll be enjoying this spring.
Hiking requires a lot of leg strength, and it’s important to train for this ahead of time. Leg exercises such as lunges, squats, and calf raises are all great hiking-specific exercises that you can perform at home. Increasing the repetitions and duration of these exercises will help you build up the leg strength you need to hike long distances.
Balance is another crucial factor in hiking, especially when you’re wearing a heavy daypack. You can improve your balance by doing exercises such as planks, side planks, and single-leg balancing. By improving your balance, you can reduce the likelihood of injuries on the trail and make sure you’re comfortable navigating the uneven terrain that is often found on hiking trails.
Another good way to increase your balance is by doing hill repeats. You can use a treadmill or find a hill in your neighborhood to work on these exercises. Start with a few hills and gradually increase the number you do each workout, as well as the length of time you spend on them.
Bench step-ups are another exercise that can be done at home and will help to improve your balance, leg strength, and overall endurance. This exercise is performed on a bench, and it involves standing up while simultaneously stepping onto the bench and then off of it. For an added challenge, you can hold a light weight in your hands to intensify the workout. You can also add to the challenge by making the jumps more difficult by starting in a half-kneeling position, or by lowering your heels farther down towards the ground. Try to do 15 reps on each leg.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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