Staying indoors and away from trails that beckon you during this time of year is tough, both physically and mentally. If you already had a hiking trip planned and had to cancel, or if you are getting antsy for a new trail adventure, take this time now, during the pandemic, to prepare for that next hiking trip.
Here are five ways to prepare.
1. Keep Hiking Muscles in Shape
For every hike, you depend on your strength, particularly in your leg muscles and core body. Establish a routine to work out these muscles, keeping them strong, and even making them stronger. A few exercises to include in your home workout routine are:
- Lunges, stationery and walking
- Squats, with or without dumbbells
- Bridge with Hamstring Curls. Using a stability ball. if you have one, place heels on the ball, rise up into bridge pose, then bring the ball into your glutes, then back out again.
- Side-Steps with Resistance Band
- Step-ups. If you don’t have a step bench, make your own.
- Sit-Ups, and other core muscle exercises, including Plank, to increase core strength and help with balance.
2. Keep up the Cardio
Cardio exercises will keep your heart and lungs fit, which means adequate supplies of oxygen to your body during hiking.
If you have access to gym equipment, such as a stair stepper, elliptical, treadmill, or stationary bike, this will be easy for you. If not, run outdoors if possible, or take cardio classes online.
3. Examine your Hiking Gear
Now is a good time to take out all your hiking gear and examine each piece. Here are a few pieces in particular that you’ll need to be sure are ready when the time comes.
- Hiking boots. Check to see if your boots are in top condition. Are there any cracks in the boot material? Are the soles loose? What about the shoelaces? Any loose D-rings or eyelets? Do they need waterproofing?
- Backpack. Check the straps to be sure they are not worn out in places that count, such as the tops of your shoulders.
- Water Filter. Test out your water filter, and make sure you remember how to use it properly.
- First Aid Kit. Take an inventory of what you currently have in your first aid kit. Did you forget to replace something the last time you used it? Do you have plenty of moleskin or other such items to help prevent blisters?
4. Order Any Gear that Needs Replacement
While examining and preparing your hiking gear, be sure to make a list of items you need to replace or add.
Do you need new hiking boots? Be sure to buy or order them online now, so you have time to break them in. Once this pandemic has passed, you’ll want to get out on the trail as soon as possible.
When’s the last time you changed your water filters in your portable water filter? Fortunately, you can do a lot of your shopping online these days and can order replacements, such as these Berkey filters.
5. Plan Your Next Hiking Trip
Don’t wait until the pandemic has passed. Start planning your next hiking adventure now. Granted, no one is sure exactly when that will be, but you can start planning anyway.
Get familiar with the trail you plan to hike. What is it like? What obstacles, if any, will you likely encounter? What will you see along the way? Read books, articles, and blog posts about other hikers’ experiences on the same trail.
The benefits of hiking are numerous, including physical, mental, and social. Even the planning itself will help you mentally during this time and keep you excited about the days to come.
Although there are unknowns as to when this pandemic will pass, you can spend this time preparing for your next hiking trip.
Set up a weekly exercise schedule to include lower body and core muscle workouts. Include cardio in your schedule as well to keep your heart and lungs fit for hiking long distances. Check out all your hiking gear and make sure everything is in top shape and ready to go. Order any replacement items you need, such as hiking boot shoestrings, water filters, and first aid supplies.
Learn all you can about your next hiking destination, keep an active lifestyle and be ready to go whenever it becomes possible again. The trails will be waiting for you.
This content is brought to you by Ameli Emiles.