Are you thinking of going on a hiking trip but you are unsure if your body is ready for the challenge? Would you like your body to be able to cope with those steep climbs, long miles, and heavy backpacks? If these questions got a YES for an answer, then, this is the perfect time for you to start training for your big hike.

Preparation is always key for any trip to be successful. It includes ensuring that you are in great physical shape before you take off. To do it, the only best thing you can do is to train regularly and properly.

Also Read: Why It Is Important To Train Before Hiking

Prepare Your Training Schedule

For starters, you must first decide on the type of hike you would like to go. Is it an overnight hike out in the wild?

Do you dream of going on a strenuous day hike to reach a mountain summit, or probably a more challenging long distance hike?

No matter what type of hike you will choose, you will always need to be in a decent physical shape. However, there is a difference when it comes to training for long distance backpacking trips and day hikes.

Many people who have average fitness level will be able to finish a day hike. But, it doesn’t mean that this will not be a challenge. People who lead active lives are going to be more comfortable with a few hours of physical exercise.

In case you don’t walk that much, it is better to start making this your habit. You can set up your body for a successful hike through giving those legs some exercise every day for several weeks.

On the other hand, overnight hikes as well as long distance hikes where you will carry camping gear are completely different stories. Training for such hikes will involve much more a basic and simple physical exercise. It will require a definite workout routine to ensure that you will be fully prepared for the hike and the weight you will be carrying on your back as well.

The 3 Fundamentals of Training for a Hike

Hiking is no doubt the most natural type of exercise for humans as the specie has literally evolved to become two-legged walkers. You get around through walking, whether it is in the park or inside your house. This is the easiest and simplest activity there is.

Having said this, even though all average people can walk, thanks to the modern society’s offered conveniences, not everyone are used to this activity anymore, particularly not for over long distances and prolonged periods of time. Most people are going to require some training before them embark on that long hike. How will you do it, then?

Hit the gym

If you are not a member at your local gym yet, now is the type to sign up for your membership. According to professional hikers, the gym is the best place where you can condition your body as well as improve your stamina and strength.

Start hiking

The second and no doubt the most obvious thing to do is to start hiking. The most ideal way for training yourself for your hiking trip is through mimicking them as much as you can. If you are not used to the activity, you can start by going on long walks around the park or other natural areas close to your house. Even though the gym is the best place for working on your specific muscle groups and doing some target exercises, it will never be able to compare to a good walk outdoors. Once your legs and feet have become used to walking for several hours on end, you can then do hikes while carrying a small backpack. Increase the elevation gain and length of your hikes little by little. Soon, you must go on hikes with your pack and all of your hiking gear. By doing so, you give your body the chance to get used to the weight it will be carrying during the actual hiking adventure.

Change your old habits

This tip might not seem as important as the first two ones but this will and can lead to major changes as far as your physical fitness and appearance are concerned. You can try to add extra exercises to your daily routine. Walk to the local store instead of driving your car. Forget the elevators and take the stairs instead. Go to work on your bicycle. If it is not possible to walk, park your car in the furthest spot possible. You can bring with you a small backpack to improve the benefits of your somewhat new lifestyle.

Read Next: What To Eat Before Going Hiking

3 Training Types for Hiking

While you train for your hike, you must be able to differentiate the three training types available:

Cardiovascular training

This is no doubt the most crucial part of any hiking training. It is advisable to do two days of cardio for each day of your strength training, and 3 to 4 days weekly is recommended. It is also a must that you rest for one day every week. Rest is a crucial aspect of a training schedule as it allows both mental and physical recovery. The main goal of this training is to optimize the recuperation power of your body. Cardio improves endurance and increases the capacity of your body to repair itself following a prolonged intense exercise.

Resistance training

Photo credit: Flickr by Lynda Sanchez

This targets specific muscle groups and parts of your body. It is vital since it will teach your body in managing prolonged physical stress. Add two days of resistance training in your schedule every week. It should include exercises like planks, squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, and step-ups.

Mental training

Preparing your mind is as equally important as preparing your body. Even if you are in great shape, you will never be able to physically prepare for any adversity. Surprising downpours, cold weather, blisters, and broken gear are only a few of the challenges you will encounter during your hike. You will only be able to get through these with mental strength.


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