We have already seen the incredible physical and mental benefits of hiking, but do you have to be trained? Although it is not a physical activity that, at least in principle, requires a special preparation it is always good that we prepare ourselves a bit based on our state of form and the routes.
We are going to carry out in order to fully enjoy the activity, to perform more with less effort and to avoid to a great extent the risk of injuries and muscular overloads. Also, do not go crazy and resort to the gym as a specific preparation to walk the mountain.
If you get used to some small training sessions, warm up before the activity and some stretching your body will thank you for the day you hit a good routing by the paths. Let’s see, then, some simple tips that will help you in your physical preparation for the mountain.
How to train if you are a hiker?
It is clear that a priori, the best thing to train a certain physical activity is precisely the sport itself, in this case walking. Easy, is not it? Yes, using common sense we can say that walking two or three times a week.
In walks of one hour each time, you can maintain a proper state to go on weekends to make longer routes and demanding in terms of the slope it means. For this, you will also have to take into account the type of terrain that you have available for your workouts and of course, avoid as much as you can walking on the paved terrain.
Hiking most of the time is developed by natural terrain as dirt roads, often with rocks or roots and often irregular so it is very important that you get used to walking through this type of terrain softer than asphalt.
With many and various types of small obstacles and for which you will have to learn to move with agility and ease if you really want to enjoy your activity. If the place where you train is in a village, it is safest for you to have trails and paths very close to where you can go hiking in its natural terrain.
If on the other hand you live in a city and for reasons of lack of time or distance you cannot often travel to a nearby place where you find natural paths you can make your walks in a park in your locality. there are always alternatives, you just have to look for them and go for a walk.
We must also take into account that if, for example, where you usually train there are no large differences in levels, or in other words, there are not many slopes, and on the weekend you want to make a route on the mountain, you should also work on that aspect.
To solve this issue you can do some series going up and down stairs, doing ‘steps” and exercises and complementary activities such as ‘spinning” or cycling to strengthen the lower body muscles such as quadriceps and twins.
Finally, remember how important are the training sessions and rest that you have to intersperse to give your body time to assimilate the work done. We will discuss this aspect later in future articles.
Before starting any training and also before each long hiking trip you should perform a simple warm-up to prepare your body. Your muscles and joints as well as your heart for the activity you are going to perform.
The difference between performing a proper warm-up before the route or doing nothing and starting in the cold lies in a significant increase in the appearance of injuries or muscular overloads with the usual jerks or muscle cramps, having an inadequate performance from the beginning of the activity and In short, we do not fully enjoy the walk that should ultimately be the main objective, in addition to sports or health.
A simple and short but effective warm-up could consist of a small jog run (very soft) of about 5 minutes to perform a series of exercises of rotation and muscular mobility such as rotation of the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders, lifting Knees, very smooth muscle stretches of both the lower train and the upper train.
Other simple exercises such as walking with your heels or with the tips of your feet to this we can add some balancing and proprioception exercises that will complete the warm-up by completely preparing your body for the central part of the training or the activity itself.
All exercises must always be done without forcing and in a natural way according to your physical characteristics and your state of form so that the warm-up and the training itself does not have effects contrary to what we are looking for.
Respect your body and your limitations and you will advance faster, more comfortable and once again enjoying yourself. Once the warm-up is done, you will be prepared to carry out the training session itself.
First of all comment that a good training has to be planned correctly based on your goals and your physical condition as well as the availability of time you have to do it Let’s give some general guidelines on how you can start training.
The first thing you have to mark yourself is an objective, what are you going to train for? The answer can be very varied depending on your circumstances but we can give you some examples to give you an idea of it.
If you are starting in this trekking and your fitness is low then your goals may be to achieve a state of acceptable form, get to walk for an hour followed in a varied terrain and at a lively pace and enjoy the activity. At first it is a bit difficult to accustom the body to a routine of training.
Especially if you have not been exercising for a long time but after a few training sessions you will see how your performance and technique begin to increase more and more quickly and there will come a time in that you have to change objectives since you will realize you will have managed to reach these with a little will and almost without realizing it.
An example of training for this level would be to train 3 times a week, an hour a day of walking progressively increasing speed without forgetting to perform a good warm-up before starting and a small session of gentle stretching at the end.
As you find yourself better you can introduce specific sessions of muscle group strengthening, spinning sessions, cycling, running. The objective of these sessions is to vary the training from time to time and take advantage of the benefits of the practice of other sports to hiking, this is called ‘cross training’ but we will see later.
If your fitness is, let’s say, normal, you lead a more or less active life and although you do not do sports regularly when you go out to do a march you are physically well then you have to go to the next level.
Here you could define less general and more specific objectives such as getting a specific route that due to its duration, distance or unevenness, poses a small challenge for you, increasing the speed of walking to walk.
For example, at 4 kilometers per hour on average., and at the same time, identify aspects of improvement based on our physical characteristics, for example, if you load your back a lot with your backpack, you will have to perform strengthening exercises on the upper body and place special emphasis on a good warm-up in addition to small stretching sessions after each activity.
The intensity of the workouts
Here we could increase the intensity of the workouts, for example by walking faster and performing alternate sessions of running exercises of technique of race that will strengthen your muscles and sharpen your balance and proprioception, make more emphasis on the final stretches.
Even reserve us someday only for make a good long session of stretching and vary them with other activities as we saw in the previous example increasing the load and intensity in the workouts.
Finally, if your fitness is very good, either because of your natural’ physical condition or because you have practiced a sport for some time your goals will have to aim higher, although always being consistent and honest with ourselves, not because of the fact that you have been running for years you will aim to beat the world record, right?
At this level I would recommend that you set goals type as in the previous level but more ambitious for example make a trek of several days, perform certain routes with large differences in altitude and distances, or try to carry an average speed of 5/6 kilometers per hour.
Never forget the aspects of improvement that you will have to identify based on your own experience in the activity. As in the previous level we will continue increasing the intensity and the load of the sessions and these will be much more specific since, as your level of performance is higher, the progression will be more difficult than in other levels.
Being key that you can identify which are your areas of improvement to influence these as objectives to be met Training planning at this level will therefore be more complex and will depend as always on the objectives you have set, although it will always be more specific than those at the intermediate or berinner level.
The return to calm
After performing the central part of your training session, for example, one hour of walking at a constant speed of 4 kilometers per hour, you have to finish the session progressively to return to calm. Just like before you started you were activating your body.
Your muscles and your heart to prepare it for the physical exercise that you were going to do now, to do the opposite and progressively lower the intensity of the exercise.
For this you can start doing some joint mobility exercises and rotations to then do a small but complete session of gentle stretching to help your muscles relax and return to calm after work done thus also avoiding possible muscle overload and leaving your body ready to rest.
Finally you can perform a small relaxation session after stretching in which you will help your body in a pleasant way and lower the pulsations of your heart to return to calm.
Soon we will make more articles on training for mountain sports in which we will explain in detail the aspects to take into account when making a correct planning as well as examples of complete sessions with routines and exercises.
So that you can make the most of your abilities and your performance We are going to leave you with a task so that you can start planning your own training correctly and effectively. Think about what goals you are going to score and why you want to train and set a date to try to meet them (no less than 3 months or more than 6).
For the moment do not think more than 3 objectives and remember that they have to be realistic goals and according to your abilities, circumstances and state of form. Write them on a piece of paper and take a couple of days to reflect on what you have written.
Finally decide if these are the goals you need to brand yourself to motivate and progress and remember that the most important thing of all is to enjoy what you do. Leave us your comment telling us what objectives you have chosen and why and if you have any questions or questions we will be happy to solve it.