17 October 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Exercise Tips from Hikers – Part 1 of 2

Hikers' strengthening I found these exercises in the BackPacker Magazine.   It really seems to me that they are valuable regardless of the type of exercise/sport one engages in. 

Taking a look starting in the left top corner and going clockwise:

 1.   Building Lung Power.  The approach is to train using “Intervals” – three minutes all out then three minutes of recovery.   The article talks about jogging – running at high intensity then jogging at recovery rate.    And for many who no longer find jogging suitable, here are options:

  • Speed walking and regular walking – outside or treadmill
  • Stair Stepper/ Stair Mill – Interval program
  • Ditto on stationary Bike or Elliptical

2.    Build Cardio Endurance.  The suggestion is 5 aerobic workouts per week.  Please not that this is geared toward preparing for a hiking trip.  This is not something you want to do on a continuous basis.  But when you are “mixing it up” a few weeks of endurance activity is a great option.  The go back to the weights and fewer aerobic sessions.

When I was preparing for a New Zealand hike (and knew I would be carrying more weight than my usual day pack), I took a backpack to the gym, loaded it with a 10 lb plate (wrapped in a towel) and spent 20 minutes on the stairmill (panting).  Worked up to 15 lbs, and am sure it helped me with endurance.  I had not seen this article – it just seemed like a good idea. 

3.    Lower Back.  We can all do with beefing up the lower back.  I would caution though that if you have had any lower back issues, check with your own physician/back advisor before doing this exercise.  Additionally if you have any doubts, go cautiously and you could lift the legs only then lift the arms only. 

4.   Explosive Strength.  The article states “nothing beats squats”.  We bodybuilders have always known this!  Options:

  • Starting out?  Squat without any weight.  Stick out your butt; have arms stretched out in front of you parallel to floor; keep knees behind toes; don’t go down too far (just above parallel is fine)
  • Squats using the Smith machine
  • Squats using any of the many machines offered by gyms.  Check what machines are available at your gym and find the one you like.

5.     Balance and Ankle Strength.   The suggestions here are great.  Some points:

  • Don’t immediately try squatting with a weight and your eyes closed.  First do it without  weight and your eyes closed
  • Squat without weight on the Bosu  –  try both sides.
  • Single leg quarter squats.  No weight; stand on right leg with left lifted and slightly in front of you; arms in front for balance; stick your butt out and bend the right leg (as though trying to sit).  You only have to go a little way – hence the name “quarter squat”!!  Then straighten  the right leg and tighten your gluts. 

6.     Treat/Avoid Muscle Cramps.  The advice on drinking lots of liquids is good.  Personally I avoid the sports drinks –  and thus the sugar.  Instead I use packages of Electro-Mix (electrolytes in a powder).  Currently they contain a little Stevia (natural sweetener), though I wish they would bring back the non-sweetened recipe.   ½ packet to the 500ml bottle of water.  The added benefit is that it gives a little flavor to the water so I drink more.  They also make a variety of flavored mixes – same electrolytes but added fruit flavor/ingredients.  These do have some sugar but the amount is small.  Personally I prefer the plain but the variety is great enough to suit all tastes. 

Other than giving the name  of the electrolyte powder above I don’t need to plug them – I am not an affiliate.   However, if you do want to know how to find the product feel free to ask me and I will share.

I have covered 6 of the 12 exercises in the article.   Will cover the other six in a blog later this week!   Stay tuned!

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