Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Spring Is In The Air: are you back in prime hiking shape?
The hiking enthusiasts amongst us can't fail to have noticed a significant improvement in the weather over the past couple of weeks. The snowy January days seem long behind us and suddenly there's sunshine at the end of this rather cloudy tunnel we've found ourselves in for the past few months. Winter's been pretty awful this year so more than a few of us fair weather hikers may well have clocked up a few months of near inactivity. So if you haven't been working on getting yourself back in prime shape over these past few weeks, you're lagging behind and you'll only have yourself to blame when you discover too late that a winter of hot chocolate and mince pies has rendered you unfit. It's time to get back into shape!
The simple and unforgettable rule is that the fitter you are, the longer you,ll be able to walk for and the more enjoyment you'll get out of hiking. If you have been inactive to say the least over the past few months you need to start focusing on cardio and strength building exercises. Bear in mind that depending on just how indulgent you've been through the winter it could take you six weeks to get your fitness levels back up: there is no time to lose.
For strength have a go at working out with weights in the gym twice a week. Keep the weights low to begin with and build up gradually. Don't just concentrate on your legs: your general fitness will improve with a little work on your arms, chest and back.
For cardio, have a go at the treadmill or exercise bike three or four times each week. Don't exert yourself but keep your heart rate up. You could also have a go at walking or jogging outside but invest in some good running shoes first: the last thing you need is a running injury that was entirely preventable spoiling the hiking season for you!
As well as checking that you're in good shape, spare a thought for all your hiking equipment. Are your hiking boots up to another year’s hard work or should they be replaced? Is your backpack still in good nick? And do you have all the hiking equipment you need for your safety?
Here’s to another summer of great hiking!