Hiking is getting more and more popular these days as people start to leave behind their gadgets, and spend more time in the great outdoors. Hiking is a wonderful activity that can make you feel closer to nature, and explore remote places which can only be reached by foot.
But, going on a hike is not something you decide overnight. You cannot just plan your hike today, and set out on adventure the next day. Even if you think that you are in great physical shape, hiking without proper training and conditioning will surely take its toll on your body.
Proper training before you big hike is important because it will make the following things possible:
Prevent Initial Overuse Injuries
A hike is no simple thing to do. It is completely different from your 30 minute jog around your neighborhood, or the daily stroll you have at the park. If you are suffering from any pain such as on your knee for example, training and conditioning it before it gives you a serious problem during your hike. To avoid it from happening, try to push yourself in your hometown gym, and look for ways on how you can respond to your pains and aches. Building strength during training can take off the pressure on your joints, which can make you leave the trail earlier than expected when an injury occurs.
Mimic Physiological Body Changes Like Those You Experience During a Hike
Through consistent endurance training before your hike, your respiratory, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular systems will be able to adapt. For respiratory, there will be decreased pulmonary ventilation and submax respiratory rate. In musculoskeletal, there will be increased mitochondrial density and size, capilliarization, and myoglobin. For cardiovascular, there will be decreased submax heart rate, and increased cardiac output.
What these means is that through training, your body will be able to adapt to the additional load experienced by these body systems which can make aerobic activities more efficient. This way, your body is not going to be shocked by those intense respiratory, muscular, and cardiovascular demands associated with hiking. You might still find it difficult to transition to the hiking lifestyle yet your body will surely be grateful for the prior training.
Understand Your Body Better
With the help of a training program, you will be able to determine your personal limits. For how long will you be able to walk without suffering from crippling pain the following day? What physical limits do you have? Training will let you be in touch with your own body, and this in turn will give you a reference once a physical problem arises. You will also have better judgment when deciding whether to push forward, rest, or see a doctor.
Increase Your Chances of Finding Potential Hot Spots for Clothing Faults and Blisters
This is pretty much self-explanatory, and is highly advised by professional hikers. You will never know how you will feel in those shoes and clothes during your hike unless you wear and sweat in them during your training.