Backpacking can help you reap many rewards mentally and physically, but you know what they say; you get what you give. Any backpacking trip, irrespective of how long or how far it goes can take a toll on you because of the sheer physical exertion.
However, if you take the necessary steps to prepare your body for it well in advance, you can enjoy feeling tired but in a fulfilling way; hiker’s fatigue, as we like to call it. You’d rather feel that than an unimaginable level of soreness in your muscles.
You can work on building endurance and strength with these body conditioning exercises before you hit the trail.
Bump up your cardio
You need to boost your cardiovascular strength before heading out on a long hike. This will help you build enough stamina to walk a long way before you get tired. Better stamina will take you further and help you explore more of the wilderness.
Cardio can get boring especially if you hate moving, but there’s a whole variety of options out there for you. Pick an activity you enjoy doing to help you stick to it longer.
Swimming, cycling, running are popular options. Alternatively, you can opt for 30 minute cardio workout videos on the internet and focus on high-intensity interval training.
Build leg muscles
Your legs are going to be doing most of the labor and strengthening them will help you get tired less easily.
Adjust your treadmill for higher incline to prepare for walking up hills. Increase your reps for leg exercises like lunges, squats, calf-raises.
Make sure you stretch regularly when on your backpacking hike to keep the blood flowing to your legs and avoid cramping.
Prepare your back for carrying the expected weight you plan to have on your trip. Take the stairs with your packed backpack, at least twice a day so your body is used to that level of exercise.
If you’re willing to take it up a notch, practice doing push-ups and planks with your fully prepped backpack. This is a full-body workout, which will build your upper-body strength and core along with your legs.
Your core comprises of your abdomen, back and the pelvic region. Strengthening the core helps you maintain balance and flexibility, two special skills you’ll need as you traverse and navigate through challenging landscapes.
The best part about core exercises is that you can do them anywhere you are. Sit on an exercise ball while watching television or reading, it will help tone your core muscles.
Remember that backpacking is just as emotionally challenging as physically demanding. Remind yourself why you’re taking the trip and what you hope to achieve from it. Is it something you want to cross off your bucket list? Do you hope to learn new things about yourself on the trip? Stay open minded and fearless!
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