How to Get in Shape for Hiking
Sports can take us to places, but recreational activities can make us feel better without the need for competition. Not every recreational activity is good for a beginner. Trying out extreme downhill cycling for the first time, without even knowing how to properly ride a road bike would be ludicrous.
Hiking, on the other hand, is not as difficult as downhill racing, but it is dangerous still. A beginner might not want to start hiking immediately. Here is how to prepare for hiking.
Hiking is essentially walking but with a lot of verticalities. This can be problematic for beginners because walking vertically is much harder than regular walking on flat ground. What every beginner should do is take long walks. These types of walks will help one work on their endurance, but what is more important, it will help with the stabilizers and joints. These smaller muscles and joints are very important and will get stressed when hiking.
This may seem the opposite of what one should do for hiking, but strength training is an obligatory part of preparing for any type of exercise. Strength training helps generate muscle tissue, otherwise known as hypertrophy, but it also strengthens the muscles.
Stronger muscles, particularly the legs and core muscles, which are needed for hiking, will make every trip easier. Note that hard sets for the legs will leave one out of commission for a couple of days, in the sense that leg muscles recover very slowly.
This is not what most people want to hear, but cardiovascular exercise is a huge part of any sport, especially hiking. After a while, hiking becomes an aerobic sport, where most of the effort is transferred to the lungs and the heart.
Oxygen delivery is paramount and if it is lacking, there is a possibility of getting cramps and feeling dizziness, which is not a pleasant experience out in the mountains. Good examples of cardio are running, HIIT exercises, as well as going uphill. Running, particularly uphill running, will most likely yield the best results for hiking.
One doesn’t need to hike to the tallest peak in the vicinity, but one could hike to something challenging, but also not suicidal. With hiking, as well as other activities, the individual can control the intensity and volume of the exercise.
If there is a possibility of being too tired, one should slow down or start descending. The tiredness alone should be a sign of fatigue, which will eventually lead to progress.
Hiking can be a dangerous activity but with proper training and preparation, it becomes more of a relaxing, but tiring one.