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Whats the best way to get in shape for hiking, exercise's etc......
The best way to get in shape is to just get out and hike! Start light and add weight.
Health club alternatives include the infamous stair stepper and the treadmill (angled at 10-15 degrees and with a pack on your back is sure to get everyone looking at you strangely). Actually, any of the aerobic machines will help, but concentrate on strengthening those quads (the fronts of your thighs). You can strengthen with various types of squats and leg extensions. I suggest that you vary the weight and repititions. If you lack strength, consider the "Body for Life" regimen: 12 reps at a very easy weight, 60 seconds of rest, 10 reps at a weight that let's you know you're lifting, rest for 1 minute, 8 reps at a weight where you could do 3-4 reps if you had to, rest for 1 minute, 6 reps at a heavy weight where you can only punch out one more rep (using good form, of course), rest a minute, 12 reps as heavy as you can, then, without resting 12 reps of an exercise that works the same muscle group as heavy as you can. You can use this for any muscle group. Give your muscles 2-3 days to rest before repeating.
I've been running to get in shape for hiking. I live in a pretty flat, boring area, so it is impossible for me to use hiking as a training method. After all, I don't really have the time to go on 12 mile hikes five times a week. I dislike health clubs and find I drop exercise routines if they involve anything complicated (like going somewhere). So, running is it. A pair of shoes and out the door you go. I started relatively easily, running about 1.5 miles, 3 days a week, on flat ground. I now run 4 miles, 4 days a week, with hills. I add some pushups, situps, and dips,
but these are not so important. I try to hike on weekends and go out on trips when I can. Not everyone likes running or can do it without hurting themselves (everyone's knees are different). So, cycling might work well for those. Of course, walking for an hour or so each day will provide a lot of benefit as well.
I general, I think getting to good level of fitness before a long trip is good. It allows you to fall back on physical ability for the first few weeks while you are mentally stressed. It also toughens your body and should reduce injuries.
The best way to get in shape for this activity, like many others, is to just do it. Go out backpacking.
Almost anything that gets you moving is better than sitting at a computer or elsewhere. I always believed that cycling was good for the knees. Also, walk up stairs instead of the elevator, do hikes, bike, cross country ski, snow-shoe, jog, run, orienteer.
i'd suggest squats, i do 100 a day. (to keep my knees strong, since i have dodgy knees).
if you do squats, never take your thighs below paralell to the floor. going lower is detrimental to your knees.
The best way to get into shape to hike 16 -20 miles a day with forty lbs on your back is to hike 16 - 20 miles a day with forty lbs on your back. You love it ,you hate it but you gotta have it!
We did our hike without any fitness training. Really, that's fine. It's not the fitness training you need, it's the muscle, ligament, bone density building you need to do. Sure you can get the same thing by starting slow, and slowly building up, but if you have a problem, it could kick you off trail. However, if you start with a running program, doing about 20-30 miles a week, with some long runs in there (15-20 miles) you will catch a lot of the problems that you will get on trail, and so you can be treated by a doctor you know and trust. Plus you will have built up the ligaments, muscles and bone to significantly reduce the chance of injury.
I agree with gravity man. Start slowly and build from there. Don't push yourself early. My last hike of the year was last October I was doing 15+ miles a day with no problem. I just finished a 20 mile weekend trip and it kicked my butt. I work out with a trainer 3 times a week and I often run. Being in shape is a good thing. But "in shape" is not "in Trail Shape."
Currently, I'm hiking 2.5mi w/instep cramp-ons on icepack 2 days on and 1 day off w/3 days of fixed weights a week. I'm going to be changing this to 4.5mi every other day on the trail with a 25lb pack and fixed weights on the off-days. With fixed weights I work mainly my arms, chest, shoulders, back, and lower torso. This gives my lower half time to heal while working the upper half and vice versa. In addition, my sunday hike is usually roughly two to three times the length of a weekday hike. I also want to lose about 20 pounds (Currently 6'1 230lbs). 210 leaves me with a little pudge which I like to have for reserve, and a little warmth.
my buddy in the Marines used to call that his Polar Bear Fat!!! kept him warm in the water! LOL