Are you struggling to increase your hiking stamina? Creating a plan to train for hiking does not have to be a hard task. With the right steps, you can increase your hiking stamina in no time. Small, consistent actions throughout the year will make a huge difference. Preseason training will make all the difference to reaching your hiking, trekking, or mountaineering goals.
You must remain dedicated to your goals. It will take effort each and every day. The fitness level needed to complete certain hikes are dependent on the level of difficulty. A short and gradual hike will need far less training than if you plan to start climbing the highest peaks in the world. However, there are a group of simple techniques to start working towards reaching your hiking goals.
Yes, going out to hike more often will definitely help increase your stamina, but it is not always the most convenient. There are far more ways to plan for hiking. The days in between going out for a hike can be used to train in multiple other ways.
Creating a Plan to Train for Hiking
Heading out to go hike more often will improve your hiking capability. Although, to be successful it takes some training in between your outings. A short but consistent approach will help to keep a strong hiking stamina. Here are seven tips for improving your hiking endurance, strength, balance, and overall cardiovascular shape. These tips include everything from exercises to understanding the importance of fueling your body with the appropriate nutrition. Using a holistic approach will help for maximum success while out on the trail.
1. Consistent, short intervals of training are most effective to increase hiking stamina.
How many times have you started a workout plan to only quit because it was too aggressive? Short and consistent is the key to prevent burn out. The first step is to set a training goal. However, the hardest part is yet to come. Sticking to a plan to train for hiking will be difficult once the initial motivation wears off.
The ability to stay dedicated over a long period of time takes a plan. Do not try to overdo it at first. Start slow and gradually build, as consistency over time will be the most effective way to building your hiking stamina.
It is far better to prevent feeling sore for days because you went too hard on day one. Start small and consistently add each week.
2. Try a yoga routine 2-3 times per week.
Do you want to relax, become more flexible, or improve your breathing? Start doing yoga. The benefits from yoga will reduce the risk of injury and soreness while improving your athletic conditioning. A quick yoga routine will be beneficial when added to your training regimen, as a pre-hike warm-up, or during a post-hike cool down.
There are many simple yoga routines online to follow. Do not worry about being an expert, even basic moves can have a huge impact. Check out this list of 9 great yoga poses for hiking and adventure.
3. Stretching and dynamic warm-ups before all hiking and training.
Always warm-up your muscles. Use a foam roller or gentle pressure on tight areas before and after all exercise. Pressure helps to release tension, reduce injury, and create quicker recovery times.
Dynamic warm-ups are best for preparing the body for tough activity. Muscles and joints become stiff when at rest. Gradually start any activity with a quick warm-up. Movement reduces muscle stiffness and works a joint through its entire range of motion. It must be done before performing quick movements that have the potential to cause injury. In addition, stretching while in motion assists to replicate the movements you will experience when hiking or strength training. Try these active stretches: side shuffle, backpedal jog, and lunge walk with a twist.
Stretching after a hike decreases the chance of injury and soreness. The best way to reach your hiking goals is to prevent being sore for too long. Focus your stretching on the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexors. Additionally, stretching your back and shoulders will be huge if carrying a large backpack.
4. A strong hiker will benefit from strength training.
Train for hiking with the use of strength exercises. Hiking relies on strong leg and core muscles. On larger hikes, shoulders and your back play a much larger role in supporting heavy packs. The foundation of a muscular build will increase your hiking stamina, speed, and enjoyment. The last thing you want is to be too tired from a lack of strength to enjoy the beautiful views at the top.
It is recommended to start training 8 to 12 weeks prior to your hike, in some cases even longer depending on the difficulty. A minimum of two strength training workouts per week is necessary to build the proper muscles in your legs, core, shoulders, and back.
Compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups in one workout. These exercises will provide the most value in a short period of time. For hiking, the best workouts will be squats, dead-lifts, rows, presses, lunges, and step-ups. All workouts use the same movements as hiking. Make sure to focus on the form, not the weight. Strength and stability occur from the proper technique when performing these exercises.
Another crucial component is your core. Since you will be working on a strong back with rows and dead-lifts, you must also balance your torso out with a solid core. Do not skip abs. The core and lower back are responsible for originating movement in all other areas of the body. Planks, leg raises, and back extensions are perfect for working out the foundation of all movement and support.
5. Balance and coordination improve hiking speed and stamina.
Creating a plan to train for hiking requires a portion of time to be spend working on your balance and coordination. Balance and coordination is needed when on narrow ridge lines, steep traverses, and jumping across rocks while crossing numerous streams. In addition to an increased hiking speed, you will reduce the risk of rolled ankles, knee pain, and falls while on uneven terrain.
You can improve your balance through yoga or strength training. One way to create better balance is to reduce imbalances between each of your legs. Single leg training prevents instabilities. You can try Bulgarian split squats, single leg Romanian dead lifts, and walking lunges for promoting equal strength in each leg.
If single leg workouts are not enough, you can also use bosu balls or other training equipment like slack lines to further strengthen balance. Slack lining is a line between two objects that one must balance on while walking across. In order to maintain balance you have to carefully shift your weight. You begin to pay more attention to the way you move around, along with building some solid ankle stability.
6. The importance of proper hydration and nutrition to increase your hiking stamina.
All dedicated athletes know the importance of water and high-quality food sources to promote training results. The quality of training is directly influenced by the choice to fuel the body effectively. It all comes down to hydration and the right food choices. This goes for any time you are training, hiking, or resting.
The optimal amount of water per hour for a moderate hike is ½ a liter or 16 ounces. A hard hike requires even more, on average a full liter or 32 ounces of water per hour. It is important to drink enough water. However, avoid drinking too much at one time. You will want to keep your electrolyte levels consistent. Electrolyte supplements will add the right minerals, while also enhancing the flavor. This is a perfect solution if you are finding it difficult to keep up with drinking enough water.
Another tip to maintain the right amount of fluids is to use a hydration pack. Water will be easily accessible. The ability to drink without taking off your backpack will encourage you to drink more often while on the trail. No more excuses. A hydration pack cannot make drinking water any more convenient. The key to preventing dehydration is to drink before feeling thirsty.
Another important part of hiking performance is nutrition. Your body needs the right nutrients while training, hiking, and on rest days. Set out to supply your body with the right amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fats. The consumption of proteins, slow digesting carbohydrates, and healthy fats will provide ongoing energy to your body. Avoid high sugars, as these spike your blood sugar. A spike may provide a short burst of energy, but it will be followed with a crash. The goal is steady energy. If you do need a quick pickup, I recommend using energy gummies throughout the day. Just make sure to use them sparingly.
7. Make sure to rest when training for hiking.
An important part of training that is often overlooked is rest. Rest is a fundamental part of any training routine, as you need time to heal. Do not try to push too hard. In order to avoid burnout and quitting, you must listen to your body.
However, there is a big difference from being lazy and making time to rest. Avoid confusing the two. Listen to your body. When your body needs rest, you must listen to avoid injury and overworking yourself. In contrary, taking too much time off when not needed will impact your hiking goals. The key is to balance between taking rest when you need it and pushing yourself hard to increase your endurance. Remember, consistency over an extended period is much more valuable than pushing yourself too hard at one given time. Results take time, so plan ahead. Give yourself the necessary time to be in the right shape for whatever hike you are planning to do.
Check out REI for more information on how to increase your hiking stamina.