A hike in the fresh air is not only fun, it is also an effective fitness training. Good preparation is all the more important. Because only those who are physically fit can enjoy the next tour to the fullest.
No matter whether young or old – everyone can hike, anytime and almost anywhere. At least if you prepare properly. The energy expenditure on hikes should not be underestimated: Untrained people should therefore not take the exertion lightly and should therefore not consider overly demanding routes at the beginning. Consistent but moderate training is advisable so that the next tour does not become an ordeal. In general, the following applies: the better your basic level of fitness, the more you will be able to enjoy the next hike.
Increase slowly and do not overwhelm
Hiking is not a competitive sport, but it can be exhausting. So that you can enjoy nature in a completely relaxed manner, you should start training early. When the right time is, of course, depends primarily on your individual fitness level. As a rule of thumb: start preparing at least three months before the next tour. The focus should not only be on endurance and strength, but also the tendons and ligaments must be strengthened. These stabilize the joints and thus reduce the risk of injury. This is especially important when things go downhill.
For example, regular and intensive walks are suitable as preparation: These should be at least 45 to 60 minutes long so that the cardiovascular system can get going. It is recommended to build in a few meters of altitude during the “walk”. This is how you slowly get used to ascents and descents.
A heart rate monitor can help to keep an eye on the heart rate and thus prevent overloading caused by walking too fast. Despite all the preparation, you shouldn’t forget to have fun: on a hike, the path is the goal and you don’t have to exceed your own limits. So make sure that the exertion remains in the comfort zone. You can also easily integrate the training into everyday life: from climbing stairs to cycling or walking to shopping – every additional movement benefits your stamina.
Sure, cardio training is important, but hiking is a challenge for the whole body. If you seriously want to prepare for a tour, you cannot avoid strengthening your muscles. A special focus is of course on the legs and torso. But it is also worth incorporating some exercises for the upper body. With a full body workout, you can train several muscle groups at once. By the way: balance also plays an important role when hiking. After all, it can sometimes go over “stick and stone”. Our tip: incorporate a few skill exercises into your everyday life. For example, stand on one leg in the morning to brush your teeth or shave. Even such small exercises have a big effect if you do them regularly.
Eating a healthy diet
So that the body can perform to its full potential, you should pay attention to a balanced diet during preparation. A healthy mix of carbohydrates, proteins and good fats gives you the energy you need to master the next hike and to optimally supply your muscles.
Warm up and “warm down”
The importance of a good warm-up program and a sensible cool-down phase is often underestimated. You should give your body the chance to prepare for the upcoming stress. So, before you go hiking, easy warm-up and stretching are essential. Through the so-called warm-up, the blood circulates faster, the muscles are better supplied with nutrients and the ligaments and tendons become more elastic. In short: the entire musculoskeletal system becomes more resilient and performance is increased.
But “warming down” is also crucial: After a long, intensive tour, you should use the last minutes of the way to run down and take a deep breath. In addition, gentle yoga exercises can help regenerate and relax the muscles.
The mental preparation
In addition to physical preparation, the mental component should not be forgotten. Because sometimes a longer hike can also be a mental stress test. You can prevent this in a targeted manner with suitable motivational and mental strategies. This will enable you to deal with nerve-wracking situations in a more relaxed manner, so that you can enjoy the hike to the fullest. Because hiking should above all slow down and not put you under pressure. So leave your false ambition and everyday stress at home and enjoy this well-deserved break in the country.
It is also a good idea to visit the gym again before you go on your next hiking tour. There are many different training devices that can specially prepare you for the long hike.
You should explain to the trainer in the gym exactly where you want to prepare for. Then the trainer in the gym should create a precise plan for you which equipment you should concentrate on.
Training at home
Exercising at home can also be a great way to get in shape. There are many different ways to train at home and to prepare for the next hiking tour at home. We can recommend a special training program for this, with which we have already had good experiences ourselves. This program for at home is particularly well suited if you have little time and do not have enough time to go to the gym all the time, but still want to prepare yourself optimally for the next hiking tour or the next outdoor adventure.