6 Resources for Getting Into Shape for the Trail
Hiking is probably one of the easiest outdoor activities to get into: the basic gear comes down to a sturdy pair of shoes (and even then, some argue for the barefoot movement). While easy trails don’t require much of us, physically, the most rewarding trails often ask us to put some work in — and the payoff is often worth the effort. If you’re ready to explore further but your body isn’t, here are several ways to get yourself trail-ready.
*Note: all photos and graphics are credited to the original article source unless otherwise noted.
You already know that yoga stretches and strengthens your muscles, keeping you flexible for everyday activities. Why not use it to prep for harder trails? You’ll find better balance, helpful for carrying the increased load of a backpack up tight trails. This style of training also lends itself to increasing mental endurance, helping you on those long uphill battles you’ll face on more difficult trails.
Check out these five poses to get started: http://espn.go.com/espnw/athletes-life/article/10688697/five-yoga-poses-hiking
Katie Levy, a cross fit athlete and avid outdoor woman, says, “…supplement your outdoor pursuits with exercises that’ll help you develop balance, strength, and agility where you need it most. The stronger your legs are, the easier it’s going to be to stride uphill with a heavy pack all day.” In this article, she recommends eight different exercises you can do at the gym that isolate leg muscles, build strength, and increase physical endurance for the trail: http://hub.sierratradingpost.com/exercises-for-hiking/
Backpacker Magazine has earned its reputation as being a core resource for hikers and backpackers everywhere, which is why the next few resources are found from its archives. In the first page of this particular online article, the editors gathered together seven exercises you can do at home or at the gym to strengthen your hiking habit: http://www.backpacker.com/skills/backpacker-bible-hike-farther/
Backpacker Magazine recruited the help of James Fisher, a certified personal trainer, to instruct readers on not only physical ways to improve their hiking, but also mental tactics. He admits that ten minutes a day is good for those who are just starting out, but if you’re further “along the trail” (so to speak), you’ll want to put more time into these exercises to get the most out of them. If you’re looking for a holistic approach for your hiking game, check out what James has to share: http://www.backpacker.com/skills/fitness/7-ways-to-get-fit-for-hiking-in-just-10-minutes-a-day/
If you’d like an at-a-glance article that balances on-trail and off-trail tips, personal trainer James Fisher returns with not just suggested exercises for hikers, but tips for stretching, warming up, and recovery as well. He also shows ways to shake up your exercise routine to increase your stamina (and more). This post works hand-in-hand with the tips in the post above, but is full of enough solid foundational ideas and bonuses that it can stand on its own, as well. http://www.backpacker.com/skills/fitness/11-hiking-fitness-tips/
Just like skiers and climbers concentrate on off-season fitness, hikers and backpackers should as well. If the current season is keeping you indoors, you can keep yourself in shape (or even improve your hiking ability!) in the off-season by staying off the couch and on your feet. Seattle Backpackers Magazine snagged exercise tips and demos from certified personal trainer Joy Konieczka, who focuses on a full-body workout in this post. http://seattlebackpackersmagazine.com/season-conditioning-hiking/