Staying Fit and Preparing for Your Hike During COVID-19
Training and preparing for your future adventure can definitely be challenging during the time of Covid-19. It might require us to be more creative to continue our fitness regimen, but it is totally possible.
The best way to train for your future backpacking trips hasn’t changed from what we would have recommended prior to this pandemic. What better way to prepare for hiking than by hiking? One activity that is still available to most of us is to spend time hiking and enjoying the outdoors. As long as you are still able to safely practice social distancing, hiking is a wonderful way to stay fit and have a mental break from the daily reality of the current situation. We have always encouraged our guests to prepare for their trips by strapping on a backpack and hiking with the additional weight of the pack. This continues to be the best possible training and is one we can safely practice during this pandemic.
If you don’t have easy access to trails or would prefer to be training indoors right now, you could consider jumping rope, which is one of the best and most underrated cardio workouts available. Or you might look into adding jumping jacks or “burpees” into your training. These are all excellent exercises that improve your cardiovascular health and can be done in short bursts and from the safety of our homes or offices.
If you are looking for ways to supplement your hiking training with some weight exercises we encourage the use of bodyweight training and exercises. Body-weight squats are a great exercise that can be done anywhere and provide thorough lower body strengthening. These might sound simple but you should withhold judgment until you have tried incorporating bodyweight squats into your training. This exercise not only tones and strengthens your legs, but also your lower back and core – two areas that are integral to backpacking. We suggest focusing on proper technique and form and working towards increasing repetitions over time. Once you’ve mastered the basic squat, look at expanding your training to include some of the many variations out there.
Body-weight lunges are another excellent exercise that trains the large muscle groups that are essential to hiking and backpacking. These focus on strengthening your gluteus maximus while also working your hamstrings, core muscles, lower back, calves, and hip stabilizers. They also feature the added benefit of improving our stability and balance, which certainly comes in handy when carrying a fully loaded backpack. Again, we stress a focus on form and proper motion to truly reap the benefits and minimize the risk of injury. Once you’ve perfected the form, you can look to increase repetitions and experiment with variations.
Strength training is one side of the training equation, but you should also be considering increasing your flexibility. There are all types of stretches that are specific to certain areas of the body but we recommend a whole-body approach. Basic yoga routines are a perfect solution. One of our personal favorites is ‘Yoga With Adriene’. This YouTube channel offers hundreds of videos that range from gentle stretching and breathing techniques to full-body workouts. Many of the routines are 15 to 20 minutes long and can be a great option to start your day. The increased flexibility and coordination gained from even occasional practice will definitely benefit you during your hiking adventures.
In short, there are many ways to keep fit and properly train for your upcoming hiking adventure. Mix it up, keep it interesting, and stay focused on your goal. You’ll be out on the trail before you know it.