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How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!)

Hiking can certainly be a lot of fun, especially if you love being outdoors and keeping active. However, it’s no secret that this adventurous hobby also requires a lot of preparation – and not just route planning.

While some trails can be tackled by beginners with little or no experience, others require a higher fitness level. Planning for these trips includes assessing your fitness level to ensure you’re in good shape before you set off.

We did a fair bit of hiking in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia and Italy our recent 2 month road-trip around Europe (and can you blame us?! Below is a photograph from one of our rest days when we were in Austria, just WOW! 😻). Planning on going hiking? Here are some tips on how to physically prepare for a hiking trip.

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

1. Plansee, Austria. If you’re looking for untouched natural beauty, you’ll fall in love with Austria.

Plan before you set off!

Are you just starting out, and looking for something to “test the waters”? Maybe you’re a little more experienced, but looking to take things up a notch? Did you find your previous hiking trip a little too much, or perhaps a bit boring? 

Every hike is different, and the physical preparation will differ, too.

If you’re booking through an adventure travel company, you can always ask them what fitness level is required for the routes that interest you. They will often be able to help you assess if the trails of interest are suitable for you.

Know your fitness level ❤️

Assessing your fitness level before setting out on your first hike – or any hike, for that matter – is highly recommended. Not all days trekking will be the same, but that’s what makes it exciting!

If you regularly walk to work and back, play football on the weekends, and go to the gym three times per week, you’d be safe to class yourself as fit. More advanced trails are certainly on your radar, however, shouldn’t be underestimated.

Where a walk to the local chip shop is your primary form of exercise, you’ll need to better prepare your body!

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

2. The Dolomites, Italy were truly epic! The Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop is perfect for beginners.

Get some training under your belt 

The obvious way to train for a hike is to get out and walk as much as you can. Anywhere you can reach on foot is an option – so ditch the car in favour of a walk to the local supermarket. In fact, carrying some shopping bags back from the shops will help you, too, as it is likely you’ll need to carry heavy bags with your belongings while hiking.

If hitting the gym, you’ll find that many treadmills feature an incline setting. For most people, these are simply a way of increasing intensity and adding “variety” to otherwise boring cardio workouts. For others, this setting offers a great tool to prepare for real-world hiking adventures.

Most treadmills max out at around 15% incline. This is pretty good, but if you’re looking to hike up demanding hills and mountains, you’ll likely want to try out a dedicated incline trainer.

An incline trainer is the same as a treadmill, however, is designed with a much steeper running deck. With incline percentages up to 40%, these are perfect for increasing the stamina needed for steep treks and mountain climbing. 

Although not cheap, you can easily save yourself some money by comparing gym equipment prices before you buy an incline trainer.

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

3. Little further up… Glacier summit shot @ Gornergrat, Switzerland – Feeling on top of the world!

Keep hydrated on your hike

With so many variables to consider, it’s impossible to produce a definitive list of things to do while on your vigorous walk. That said, water and food are things we can accurately estimate.

Before setting off, you’ll no doubt have map of the route you’re taking. You should work out how many miles you’ll walk and calculate how long this will take.

Regarding hydration, a good rule of thumb is to drink a litre of water for every two hours walking. If it’s a hot day, with lots of uphill climbing, this should be the minimum you shoot for.

Remember, the more water you carry, the heavier your bag will be. For this reason, it’s important to accurately estimate how much water to take, to ensure an optimal fitness level.

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

4. Views of Matterhorn from Riffelsee, Switzerland (Yes, that’s the Toblerone mountain!!) 🐻

Re-assess your fitness level after the hike

No matter how well you initially assessed your fitness level, or how much you physically prepared your body, you will now know the reality of how fit you are. Did you smash it? Was it a walk in the park (excuse the pun) or maybe it was more physically demanding than you imagined?

Those who found their most recent hiking trip difficult might add weight training to their preparation for next time. If you found it less demanding, you can aim for something a little tougher while having a “feel” for what areas you might need to address to ensure you’re at the right fitness level to tackle it.

How to Physically Prepare for a Hiking Trip (+ 5 Epic Hike Ideas!) | UK Lifestyle Blog

5. One of the most jaw-dropping hikes I’ve ever done, the Pragser Wildsee loop in the Italian Alps

Last but not least…

Physical preparation is an important part of hiking. When booking or planning a hike, ask experienced hikers and tour company advisors about the required fitness level.

Once you’ve shortlisted suitable trails, pick exercises to help you reach the right level: walk to the local shops if you’re a beginner; train on an incline trainer if you’re more experienced; and lift weights if you feel your strength needs improvement.

In addition to preparing you for the hike, these exercises and training methods will also keep your body in great shape for everyday life, too.

2018-12-14T23:57:43+00:00 December 15, 2018|Travel|

How to Get in Shape and Build Stamina for a Mountain Trek

If you want to increase endurance and tackle bigger mountains, building your muscles and getting stronger is one way to do it. Most treks rely on stamina in one way or another, so being strong can really help you achieve what you want to. But how do you gain that muscle in the correct and sustainable way? We’ve been doing quite a bit of mountain trekking recently in the Alps and we’re planning lots more. This means we’re going to need to get in better shape and build stamina to tackle bigger mountains and longer treks.

How to Get in Shape and Build Stamina for a Mountain Trek | UK Lifestyle BlogCheeky snap from last month hiking the Tre Cime di Lavaredo Loop in the Dolomites

Work the Right Muscles

There are certain muscles that are most useful to people focusing on certain sports. You should try to make sure that you’re working the muscles that are going to help you get to where you want to be in sport. There’s no point in working on the wrong muscle groups, so give this some thought and be clear about which muscles are going to be most important for you.

If you’re going to a long trek, consider these exercises to prep your body:

  • Goblet squats
  • Step-ups
  • Downhill lunges
  • Hanging knee raises
  • Kettlebell deadlift

Eat Calorie-Dense Meals

It’s important to pack plenty of calories into your diet when you’re trying to gain muscle because you’ll be working out at the gym pretty regularly. You need to make sure that your body has the fuel it needs, and a calorie-rich diet full of lots of protein will help with all that.If you’re stuck for ideas, try this protein-rich lemon chicken quinoa bowls recipe. Many people who are serious about building muscle eat 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day.

How to Get in Shape and Build Stamina for a Mountain Trek | UK Lifestyle Blog

Choose the Right Protein Supplements

Having the right protein supplement as part of your diet will help you to build muscle faster and easier. It’s all about finding bodybuilding supplements or protein supplements that will do what you need it to. There are lots out there, so do some research and think hard about what you’re going to need from a protein supplement. Most people looking to gain muscle use one.

Train With Weights in Short Bursts

When you train with weights at the gym, it’s best not to push yourself for more than an hour. There is no research to show that you benefit from training for longer than that and you could damage your muscles if you push too hard without taking breaks. So keep it simple and train in shorter bursts each day.

How to Get in Shape and Build Stamina for a Mountain Trek | UK Lifestyle Blog

Track Your Progress to Spur You On

When you track the progress you making, it will spur you on because you will be able to see the improvements and the successes for yourself. It’s a way of proving to yourself exactly what you’re capable of. Seeing the results really proves that you’re on the right track and you’re doing the right things, and that’s worth a lot. It’s what you need when you need the extra push. I track my progress by choosing a bigger and bigger mountain. Alternatively, you can use this cool free-printable for tracking your workout progress I found online.

Gaining muscle isn’t as difficult as you might think, and once you get into the right routine, you’ll start to see success relatively quickly. It’s in your best interests to get to work on this if you feel it’s important to achieving your goals in sport and other activities you do on a regular basis.

2018-11-02T01:11:20+00:00 October 31, 2018|Popular, Travel|

4 Natural Wonders That You Should See in Your Lifetime

Travelling the world is a wonderful experience which most people long to have. Being able to see as much as possible when you go on vacation will always make the trip feel more satisfying, providing you with stories, memories, and even new knowledge. To embrace this fully, it could be worth changing your approach to going away. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring four of the World’s best vacation locations for those that want to see the natural world.

4 Natural Wonders That You Should See in Your Lifetime | UK Lifestyle Blog

Madagascar

Known for the huge population of lemurs calling this place home, Madagascar is a naturist’s dream come true. With hundreds of miles of uninterrupted forest which is largely untouched by humans, you won’t find many places in the worldwhich can provide the same experience as this island. There are hundreds of species of plants and animals here which can’t be found anywhere else, making it perfect for anyone with a love for nature.

The Galapagos Islands

It’s likely that you’ve heard of or seen a Galapagos tortoise at some point in your life. Growing to be one of the heaviest reptiles in the world, these mammoths can live for well over 200 years. Of course, though, these islands are also home to bountiful rainforests which are filled with unique creatures. Like Madagascar, these islands have had millions of years of isolation from the rest of the world, and this has lead to massive diversity in the natural features calling it home.

Costa Rica

Off the coast of Central America, it’s hard to believe that an island so calm and serene could be found in this troubled part of the world. With a hotel like the Courtyard San Jose Escazu, you will find yourself in the heart of a bustling city. From your room, though, you will also be able to see endless trees, as this area is home to dense rain forests. Planning to become carbon neutral by 2021, it’s easy to see that their environment is important to the people of Costa Rica, and this shows even more when you pay a visit.

Peru

Finally, as the last option on this list, it’s time to mix a little bit of history into the vacation pot. Peru, like the other options on this list, is largely covered by rainforests, giving it a huge array of creatures and plants to learn about. Along with this side of things, though, Peru is also home to a huge amount of ancient lore. Machu Picchu is an incredibly popular destination, being home to a series of very well preserved Inca ruins.

4 Natural Wonders That You Should See in Your Lifetime | UK Lifestyle Blog

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder to plan your next vacation with nature in mind. The world has a lot to offer when it comes to all things green, and you have a huge range of options to get you started. Of course, though, you should do some research to find the best place for you, as everyone will have something different they’d like to see.

2018-04-22T11:33:07+00:00 April 22, 2018|Travel|
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