How to start hiking and build up to the big hikes
Many times, we see these awesome views and wish we could go see them in person. Unfortunately, they are tied to difficult hikes and while they are worth the trip most people can not attempt without more experience. The good news is you can build up to being able to do these hikes. Even if you are starting out and your goal is to do one of the big hikes, its an achievable goal. Similar to training for a sports event, you can train for bigger hikes.
How to start?
First you need to plan what your goals are. Are you going need to spend multiple days hiking or going to high elevations? These can change how you need to train to do these hikes. Once you have a goal in line you also need to access what level of experience you are at. Have you previous hiking major trails? Do you have regularly or are you just starting out? Once you answer these questions you can start to plan on what you need to do in order to achieve your goals.
The next big step is getting out there and starting. Do not get hung up on the planning stage, you want to answer those questions honestly and start working towards your goals. This might just be going for a walk or finding a simple trail near you that you can start doing. If you have more experience you can start on more difficult trails, but do not push yourself until you are ready.
Now that you have started you can assess if you are ready to start doing more intense or if you need more time at the level you are at. As it becomes easier you can start to move up the difficulty. Increasing the difficultly can be pushing yourself harder or finding a more difficult trail.
Getting started can be the most difficult part, but as you make it part of your routine it will become easier.
What can you do if you can not hit the trails?
Many people have busy lives and it can be hard to hit the trails and practice. The good news is you do not need to go to a hiking trail to start to build yourself up. When hiking and backpacking you will mostly use your heart, lungs, core, legs, hips, shoulders, ankles, and feet. Knowing that these are key areas means you can do exercises that will benefit these sections.
Here are 5 exercises that are great for hiking:
- Mountain climbers
- Step up
- Calf raises and Heel dips
Mixing in exercises are a great way of building yourself up and you can do these at home saving time. While this will not replace being on a trail it’s a added bonus.
You will be carrying items with you that you probably will not need on the easier hiking trails. This will add more weight which in turn will add to the difficulty. As you work on building yourself up to the big hike you should include all equipment you plan to bring to get a feel for it and even make sure you have everything you need.
Having the right equipment is another key aspect. You do not want your backpack to rip apart or tear. Same goes for your feet, you do not want to have bad blisters and sores from the trip. Never cheap out when it comes to your equipment, not will it last longer, but this is also your safety equipment. Should something happen it may end up being your equipment that saves you.
Shoes, backpacks, water bottles and clothing are the main part of your hiking equipment and depending on the length you may need camping equipment, but what you put in these is important to. You want to have comfortable quality shoes. A backpack that is easy to access but holds everything you need and clothing that can keep you warm and/or cool depending on the situation.
Other items to consider is a medical kit, Firestarter and extra rations in case things do not go as planned.
Making a check list before the big day would be something we strongly recommend. You do not want to forget something important when making big hikes. Create a list and prepack that way the morning of you can do a quick run through and make sure you have everything you need.
It does not have to stop at your goal
Once you achieved your goal it does not have to stop there. The health benefits are fantastic and there are many other amazing hiking trails around the world. There are deserts, forest, ocean views and mountains to hike and experience. On top of this it can be a great stress reliever or a great way to get some peace and quiet.
Make sure you have the quality gear for your hiking dream here