Lately there have been questions on hiker groups and forums about getting oneself ready physically for the demands of an extended backpacking trip. Normally when January rolls around, it’s time to think about exercise, and the goal of a trip come spring is a good way to keep yourself in shape. Here are a few tips I’ve used to begin the process and get oneself ready for the adventure.
Set a Goal
More than anything, a backpacking trip is a mental venture. You can do the physical preparedness as best you can, but it’s the enjoyment of reaching a goal and enjoying the journey that ultimately leads to success. So spend some time thinking of your hiking goals for this year. Where do your want to go? How much time do you have to hike? Go over some trail guides and seek the advice of others as to the trails that might work. Pencil it into your calendar. With the goal in mind, your can now begin to work toward it.
Start Some Weight Control
Many have enjoyed the treats of the holidays but are now faced with some extra weight to lose. If you are one of those that may need to shed a few pounds, start by choosing good foods. There is no need to do some diet fad. Vegetables
especially the green types, lean meats and fish, whole wheat products, and drink plenty of water are good choices. Try to cut down on refined sugary products and useless carbohydrates like white breads, crackers, muffins, things that will spike your sugar levels. Also, when you feel full, stop eating. Don’t take the second helping. Controlling portions helps.
If you have never engaged in a physical activity, start slow. A walk around the neighborhood for starters. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Park a good distance away from where your need to go and walk there instead. Walk as much as you can and slowly increase the amount of walking you do. I’ve heard of some walking up and down bleachers at school stadiums, etc. if there are no hills in your area. You can also load up a day pack and head for the hills.
|Hiking in snow is actually good exercise, but take it easy when you do.|
The Hike Comes
Don’t sweat it if you are not in great shape. The trail will do it for you in no time. Keep your miles low and the weight in your backpack low. Start out slow. Realize that aches, pains, and some blisters are all part of doing something your body is not accustomed to. It will adapt. Most of all, enjoy the journey whether on your own or with family or friends. Take lots of pictures and share about your trip.