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5 Tips to Get in Shape for Your Next Hiking Trip

If you have outgrown those short day hikes and are looking for a bigger challenge, then you might be ready for a long-distance backpacking trip. These hikes are incredibly rewarding, but they can also be quite challenging if you are not physically and psychologically prepared. No matter how long you plan on hiking or where you are thinking about going, here are a few tips that will help you get back in shape so that you are ready for anything that comes your way on your next hike when you visit a tropical paradise

Long and Steady Every Few Days

No matter what type of exercise program you decide on, at least part of your training must focus on your cardiovascular health. Also referred to as aerobic training, cardio exercises will provide you with many different benefits such as boosting your immune system, improving your stamina, strengthening your heart, and helping you stay within a healthy weight range. Some of the best cardio exercises for backpackers include hiking with a weighted vest, stair climbers, and cycling. You should try to carry out steady-state cardio training sessions at least twice a week. 

Don’t Neglect Weight Training

For many years, doctors believed that aerobic training was the only way for long-distance athletes to improve their cardiovascular health. While your steady-state training is going to be extremely important, you also need to add some weight training sessions to your exercise program. Training with weights at least a few times a week is going to increase your lung capacity, balance your muscles, and improve your flexibility. During your weight training sessions, you should always focus on your form to reduce your risk of injuring yourself. 

Add a Backpack

After you have built up a baseline level of fitness, you can then begin the process of personalizing your training program. Even extremely fit athletes might have a tough time backpacking simply because they are not used to the weight of the backpack or position of the straps. No matter how hard you train without weight on your back, you might quickly realize that you have dozens of underdeveloped muscles once you put the backpack on for the first time. The best way to begin training with a backpack is to section off compartments and fill them with weights. As you continue to get stronger, you can simply add more weight to your backpack. 

Start Giving Up Your Bad Habits

After spending a few days out in the wild, many of your bad habits might catch up with you. Those who smoke aren’t only going to have a tough time increasing their red blood cell count, but the tobacco products will also add quite a bit of weight to your pack. At the very least, you should consider investing in a vape pen kit to cut down on how much weight you are carrying. In the months leading up to your trip, you should also limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol so that your body learns to naturally balance your hormones. Giving up coffee will force your body to tap into its natural energy sources such as fat and carbohydrates. 

Perfect Your Diet

Your diet should be perfectly tuned well before you head out into the wild. While many traditional hikers focus on high-carb foods, you also need to pay attention to your consumption of healthy fats and lean protein. These three macronutrients are vital to your health, and striking the perfect balance between them will provide you with long-term energy instead of short bursts of energy. You should also begin trying out the snacks and meals you plan on eating during your trip well before you leave to make sure that they don’t upset your stomach. 

Even if you feel like you are in great shape, you should never take a long hiking expedition lightly. After spending hours out in the sun with a heavy pack on, you might begin to notice unusual aches and injuries that will bring your trip to a grinding halt. The only way to be sure that you are ready for a rigorous hiking trip is to slowly build your strength and carefully plan every step of your excursion.