How to Get in Shape for Backpacking and Hiking

How to Get in Shape for Backpacking and Hiking

Hiking is a fantastic activity for those looking to bring some outdoor activities to their lives this year. Not only are there many benefits to walking but hiking also gives us the chance to experience the natural world in a new and unique way, helping us to expand our horizons.

Many people are now looking to introduce new activities into their weekly or monthly routines, particularly those that give us an excuse to get outside and be active. A fantastic thing about hiking is that you can push yourself as hard as you like, but you can also enjoy it at a leisurely pace that you are comfortable with. While there are very few physical barriers to enjoying your outdoor adventure, here are some basic tips if you are looking to improve your fitness before taking up hiking.

Start Slow

A crucial thing whenever it comes to improving your fitness level from around a base start is to look for gradual improvements. Trying to go from zero to hero too quickly may not only cause strain and injury to your body but expecting such a drastic improvement overnight is simply unfeasible. If we set our goals too high, then we are more likely to become demotivated faster when they aren’t achieved. Therefore, be honest with yourself and set realistic targets and timeframes for your fitness.

Increase Basic Activity

If you are looking to increase your everyday fitness for activities such as backpacking, then an effective way to go about this is to simply look for opportunities to be more active in your current schedule. This is especially important if you have an occupation that limits daily movement, such as an office job, which can deteriorate body strength over time.

There are often many opportunities in our daily lives to increase the number of physical activities we are doing. The most common example is walking or cycling to places instead of using a car, but it doesn’t have to just concern getting from A to B. There is a range of ideas out there, such as frequently getting up from your seat during an office day, that will help you get more active without having to change your weekly plans.

People walking and cycling on a path at a park

Strengthen your Key Muscles

What people often don’t realise with the umbrella term ‘fitness’ is that it involves a lot of different factors related to our health. While our cardiovascular fitness – the ability for our body to supply oxygen and generally how we run out of breath – plays a crucial role in our overall fitness, muscle strength is also key.

People often imagine heavy weights and bulging arms when we talk about building muscles. However, there are some straightforward exercises for hikers that can help strengthen the key muscles related to walking. Improving your leg, back and core strength will lead to a more comfortable and enjoyable hiking experience and using simple home exercises will be sufficient if you are looking to start on your hiking journey.

Improve Your Flexibility

This critical point is the one that is most often forgotten by those looking to improve their fitness because it doesn’t necessarily improve your strength and the results are harder to see. However, if you are looking to enjoy hiking as a long-term hobby (and why wouldn’t you?!), then you should strive to improve your body’s flexibility.

Improved flexibility helps in a myriad of ways. The main advantage is that this will reduce the risk of injury from physical activity, allowing you to keep hiking for longer. However, if you choose in the future to take more challenging routes, then having extra flexibility will make crossing potentially tricky paths much easier!

A hiker climbing an icy mountain with an ice pike

These are just three simple points that could help you to improve your basic level of fitness. However, hiking in itself is a great way to enhance your physical prowess! Get yourself a pair of summer hiking boots and start on some easy paths. We know you’ll get hooked and before you know it, you will find walking up steep hills and mountains a breeze!