This week I discuss the importance of careful preparation for a hike. Whether it’s planning for a trek in Iceland, the Oxfam trail-walk, or some bush trails in Australia, you can never feel too prepared.
Whatever your goal, if you are attempting to walk or trek you will need to prepare your body by increasing your strength and endurance capacity in the lead up to the walk. With gradual training carrying a pack and increasing the load, your skin, tendons and bones will become thicker, stronger and more resilient.
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There are two main aspects to work on.
1. Increasing your walking load:
The best way to avoid injuries while trekking is to make sure you’ve done the correct training and increased your walking capacity slowly. Try increasing the weight of your pack, and the lengths of your walk in a gradual and organised way.
Give yourself at least 3 months to train for a moderate trekking trip, or up to 6 months for an epic adventure like the Oxfam Trailwalk or Base Camp.
Look at your goal and work backwards. Arrange the steps towards your end goals, including lengths of walking and strength training. Then calculate your distances and loads over that time to formulate a training plan.
In the last few months make sure you wear your shoes in to avoid teething problems mid trek.
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2. Improve your strength:
Strength is hugely underestimated when preparing for these sorts of adventures. Many people underestimate the importance of upper and lower limb strength training. Upper limb strength is needed to carry your backpack as well as assist with lifting yourself up steep sections if the terrain is rough.
To improve your upper limb strength, try these simple exercises. I’d advise starting these at least 3 months prior to your trip:
Lie on your front face down with your hands on the floor shoulder width apart and your fingers facing forwards. Press up using your arms and shoulders, lifting your body up onto your toes, so that you have a straight line from your head to your feet. Keep your abdominals and core muscles braced – do not arch or sag your back. Bend your elbows, lowering your chest down towards the start, keeping your body completely straight. If this is too difficult, try starting with your knees on the floor and press-up from this position.
B) Triceps dips.
Sit on the front edge of a chair. Place your hands on the seat of the chair and use your arms to move yourself forwards towards the front of the chair. Walk your feet forwards so your legs are straight out or bent at the knees toward the edge. From this position, use your arms to slowly lower your body directly down towards the floor by bending at the elbow. Keep your hands close to your body. Lift yourself up by straightening your elbows to complete the triceps dip.
Tune in next week for some lower limb exercise tips!
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