How to Get Into Shape for Hiking

jogging to get into shape

Hiking is a lot of fun, but it is also a way to get some serious exercise. It’s important to realize that, if you’re not someone who hikes often (or ever), you’re not going to just be able to get out there and do a very difficult hike that lasts for hours.

Even if you could, you’d really injure your body if you put it through a strenuous hike without the proper preparation. You don’t have to be a fitness guru in order to go on a hike. You do, however, need to be aware of your fitness level and to choose a hiking trail and difficulty level that matches it. Also, it never hurts to start preparing for your hike ahead of time!

Let’s Hear it for Lunges!

Lunges are one of the absolute best exercises you can do to start getting your legs ready for a long hike. They will build muscles in the calves that will be necessary for stabilizing you on tough terrain. Start out doing a few lunges per side or by alternating sides for a set number of lunges, aiming to lunge as deeply as possible each time.

Slowly increase the number of lunges you do, and when you’re ready, you can even add in some hand weights and do bicep curls as you lunge to help give your arms a workout too

Walk Daily

Hiking is really just a more strenuous version of walking, so it makes sense that walking daily would help to get you ready for your big hike. If you’re a true beginner, it’s fine to start with shorter walks on flat terrain. Try bringing along the pack and goods you plan on carrying on your real hike to get a feel for them and to see if you’re actually capable of carrying them yourself.

Every day, try to take your hike a little bit further; whether you increase your distance, the length of the walk, or try a trail with hills and other challenges, pushing yourself each day will help to improve your endurance and stamina.

Get Your Heart Pumping

There are two types of exercises: exercises that are designed to build and tone muscles and exercises that are designed to burn fat. While both types of exercises are important, you especially need to be engaging in exercises of the second variety in the weeks leading up to your hike. These are the types of exercises that are designed to get your heart pumping- cardiovascular exercises.

The more you work your cardiovascular system, the more it will be able to take on your hiking trip. There are all kinds of good exercises to try, such as running, using the elliptical machine, or even doing jumping jacks and plyometric exercises. Mix things up, but work out consistently, and you should see a big change in no time.

Be More Active in General

While hitting the gym and going on long walks are definitely going to help you get into shape, it’s also helpful just to be active, in little ways, whenever you get the chance. Choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, walking places when possible, and just getting up from your desk or seat and standing are all little things you can do that, over time, can make a big difference in your physical health and ability.

So, as you can see, there are lots of ways to improve your physical fitness before your hike. Make sure you give some of these tips a try; otherwise, your first hike is probably going to be a lot more difficult than you bargained for!