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Get hiking fit

Expert training for the sporting walker

by Eric Viskovicz


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© Rick McCharles

As you imagine your upcoming hiking holiday, your mind wanders to scenic vistas, summer foliage in full bloom, amazing waterfalls and maybe even a wild animal or two. Fingers roam across the map as you pick your exciting destination. Your healthy sense of adventure has led you to a very challenging hike that promises to invigorate and delight your mind, body and spirit. But as you envision how wonderful you are going to feel, you soon realize that maybe you will need to do some strengthening of your legs the last thing you want to return home from your rejuvenating hiking vacation with, is an injury.

As the founder of LIFE (Live In Fitness Enterprise), I have known about the many benefits of hiking for years. I have seen clients come to regain a healthy connection with themselves as they are out on the trail; hiking not only provides an exceptional workout, targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteas muscles, and calves, but also improves the mood of my clients as they comeback reinvigorated, often realizing how many calories they have just burned.

I always want to make sure that my clients are well prepared before they go out for a hike, so we have designed a preparation programme consisting of several exercises, stretches, and balance activities. And as some people are more advanced than others, and we have a choice of beginning or advanced hikes, we have divided the program into 'Advanced Preparation' and 'Beginner Preparation'.

To help you determine which category is right for you, consider that most advanced hikes are three miles or longer, and have a significant elevation component. The advanced hike that we use for an example is 3.2 miles, and has an elevation gain of 1,000 ft. On the other hand, most beginner hikes are 3 miles or less, and have a mild elevation gain, usually of less than 1,000 ft. Once you have determined whether you are advanced, or just beginning, you can follow either one of the preparation programs here.

Beginner programme

Strength Exercises:

1. Assisted Squats: Holding on to a support bar, place your feet under your hips,....

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I'm off Trekking to Nepal in March - these have really added to my training program!

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