Can you imagine building a fit and balanced body, while clearing your head and enjoying yourself in nature at the same time?
You have to agree with me when I say that we all need a little break from the gym every now and then, right?
Well, if you’re a fit girl and an adventure addict like me, I have one word for you:
H I K I N G!
Hiking is one of the best ways to keep fit, stay in shape, get your cardio done and lose a few inches, while enjoying a great day in nature, walking with your crew.
And the best thing is that it delivers almost immediate rewards, by providing you with countless health and fitness benefits:
- Improves your stamina
- Activates many leg muscles and gets you sexier, leaner legs
- Lowers the blood pressure
- Burns lots of calories
- Gets fresh air through your lungs
- Relieves stress
- Keeps you fit
- Sets you up with the best cardio activity
- Frees you mind
Since I’ve already fallen in love with hiking, and I’m doing it once a week for over two years now, I wanted to share with you some of the best hiking tips that helped me get the best out of my hikes.
Starting from the right way to include hiking into your fitness plan and getting the most out of your trails, packed together with the best hiking tips, hacks and essentials you need, I’ll give you the ultimate “hiking for beginners” guide.
Let’s get started right away!
1. Always Fuel Up Before The Trail
The first one of my hiking tips has to be the fuel up!
And what’s the best way to do that, if not with the right food.
Make sure you eat a meal at least an hour before your hike.
I usually eat yeast free rye bread, with eggs, glass of milk and a handful of almonds.
You are going to need some long-lasting energy for the hike, so make sure to avoid fast energy foods such as bad carbs and sugary products.
2. Strength Training Makes You Better Hiker
And that’s a fact!
Functional movements like squats, lunges, step-ups and dead lifts, mimic the movement patterns you’ll encounter on the trail.
Performing these movements with weights in a controlled setting allows your joints to move through their full range of motion, building strength and stability.
Also, it’s pretty important to stay fit in off seasons too, so if you are not going to the gym already, make sure to pick out one of my free workout programs.
Hydration is the key when you’re doing any activity, especially when hiking.
You should hydrate before, during and after the trail.
Instead of a water bottle, use a hydration bladder (like a CamelBak) to carry your water.
A hydration bladder allows you to carry more water, to drink on demand without taking off your pack, and helps keep your momentum going on those uphill pushes, which ultimately saves you time.”
– Kristen Bor, Bearfoot Theory
4. Breathe Through Your Mouth
You can get over the muscle pain, but what can really torn your hike down is the oxygen in your lungs.
And breathing through your mouth can definitely make it easier on your lungs, since that way your whole body refills with oxygen faster.
So don’t be afraid if you get out of breath, just take long deep breaths and bathe your organs with fresh oxygen.
There’re few things that you got to have on your hike, and they require a nice packed backpack:
- Rain coat
- Extra clothing
- Sun screen and sun glasses
- First aid kit
- Knife or multi-purpose tool
- Toilet paper
You’ll want something you can carry comfortably and has the features designed to keep you hiking smartly.
6. Don’t Over Pack
And this is one of the hiking tips you need to read carefully.
I had to warn you, because you don’t want to hike with 20 pounds on your back.
Take what you really need, no less, no more.
Hiking is hard enough, so don’t make it even harder by loading yourself up with unnecessary gear.
7. Catch Your Own Pace
It is really important to learn your own tempo when hiking.
Because knowing the pace you feel comfortable in is another essential for a great hike.
You’ll avoid getting out of breath and making breaks every 5 minutes, if you’re going too fast, and making cool-outs and wasting time, if you’re going too slow.
The best tempo is the one that both challenges your body, and gives you the opportunity to finish the trail with minimized breaks.
Hiking once a week is a great plan, especially when you go at the gym the rest of the week.
If hiking is your only activity (it shouldn’t be, but only if) you can hike twice a week, but never more.
I usually hike on Sundays, and since it became a ritual for me and my boyfriend, we try to never miss a week.
You shouldn’t underestimate the power of skipping your weekly hike – it can ruin all the efforts you’ve been doing for the past months.
It’s really tough to make it a routine already, so make sure to never miss your weekly hike.
9. Be Extra Gentle To Your Feet
Boots are the main cause why blisters and foot pain happens in the first place, so picking out the right hiking boots is really important.
But even if you have the perfect pair of boots you may still feel pain, so you can try eliminating it with a few hacks:
- Choose synthetic socks that wick blister
- Try wearing two pairs of socks to avoid friction
- Loosen your laces a bit when going up and tighten them when going down
- Use moleskin and a duck tape over it to cover your blisters and to be able to continue the trail
- Use different lacing techniques
Also, make sure to do some foot stretching exercises, and treat your legs with a massage afterwards, because they really deserve it :)
I always do this at the top:
- I stop
- Take a few deep breaths
- Sit down and perform my hiking yoga poses
This helps me relax, make proper cool down, and stretch my warm muscles while enjoying the view.
I usually do leg stretching poses, such as garland pose, high lunge, side angle pose and tree pose.
Stretching has to become a part of your hiking, so make sure to always take that yoga break for at least 5 minutes.
It will help you become more flexible, help you burn a lot more calories, do a proper cool-down and of course make you a better hiker.
11. Fasten Up Your Tempo On the Way Down
Going down is as important as going up.
It activates the hamstrings, the side butt muscles and the muscles around your knee.
What you can do for better results is fasten up your tempo on your way down, and try to challenge your muscles even if it’s easier.
I always do this and I love it.
Just try to be careful and not hurt yourself, because most of the ankle injuries are made on the way off the top.
12. Hit The Cardio For Better Performance
Hiking is considered as a type of cardio activity, that is great for your heart, muscles and lungs.
This means that performing any other type of cardiovascular activity, will go great in addition to your next route.
It will help you improve your stamina, which will definitely help you become a better hiker.
13. Avoid Making Breaks
Of course you’ll stop a few times, just make sure it’s not that often and not that long.
You have to keep up your pace, and you definitely have to avoid cooling down, so make sure to do it sort.
I usually go with the rule that if you stop, it’s going to be twice harder when you start again, so I avoid stopping at all, when I do shorter trails.
You should always eat right after your hike.
Proteins help your muscles recover faster, and after the long way to the top, that’s what you really need.
So don’t keep your body waiting to much, and feed it up with some proteins, vitamins and fibers.
You can also include some healthy fats, just make sure to avoid loading up with carbs.
I usually eat few eggs, sided with avocado and a bowl of green salad.
15. Never Hike After Leg Day
Your legs need to rest at least 48 hours after leg day, and that’s the main reason why you shouldn’t hike after leg day.
You don’t want to risk burning your muscles, so it is for the best to leave the getaway on the trail at least two days later.
It’s okay to hike on sore muscles though, just make sure to warm up properly before starting.
The Mountains Are Calling Girl, And You Must Go!
Fit girls it’s your turn to fall in love with nature!
You’ll be amazed how wonderful it actually feels to become one with the mountains, to get to know the woods and to conquer yourself.
So pick up your first trail and go on, on your new adventure!
I hope my hiking tips helped you learn how to do it right and how to include the trail in your fitness plan.
If you like this, don’t forget to share it with your friends!