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Guest Post by Paul Ronto
Summer is upon us!
The summer solstice is here and will pass. That means it’s time to get outside! Before you head into nature, we wanted to share a few simple tips to get your body ready for a summer filled with outdoor adventure.
Most of the tips below can all be done in 10–15 minutes a day, at home, the office, or in the gym. There is no need for weights; instead, fill your pack with 20–50 pounds of gear for an added challenge. Follow these tips every day for the next few weeks, and you will find a new bounce in your step as you enjoy the trails this summer.
Your core is crucial to almost any activity you want to tackle this summer, so we’ll start here. Building a fit core will help you keep your balance on uneven surfaces, don your loaded pack, and assist with the power needed on steep inclines and declines.
- 50 situps
- 50 leg lifts
- 60-second side planks (30 seconds on each side)
2. Legs and ankles
A fit base is key to putting in the miles and checking off distant summits. Strengthening your legs and ankles is easy, but should be a focus if you plan on hiking this summer. Don’t let a sore bum or tight calves slow you down this summer.
Ankles tend to be one of the most injured body parts while hiking. Uneven terrain can get the best of us, so avoid needing to call in the chopper by ensuring your ankles are in hiking shape.
- 50 jump squats
- 50 lunges (25 on each side)
- 50 calf raises
3. Upper body
Most wouldn't think hiking takes a lot of upper body strength, but strap on a heavy pack and you’ll soon realize you should have spent some time focused on key muscles you’ll surely be feeling at the end of the day.
These exercises only take a few minutes and will activate all the muscles in your upper body that you’ll need while toting weight around in the woods.
- 50 pushups
- 25 pullups
- 50 shoulder presses
True, your back is part of your upper body, but since so many people have back problems, we thought it wise to advise you to spend a little time focused on your back as well. Walking on uneven surfaces or carrying heavy packs can add to those preexisting problems.
- 50 weighted step ups
- 60-second low plank
- 50 deadlifts
Don’t forget about the cardio that most people dread. Your heart needs just as much attention as the rest of your muscles. Luckily walking is the perfect cross-training for hiking. Talk a walk at lunch, park further from the office, and do a few extra laps up and down the grocery store aisles.
Obviously, more strenuous cardio exercise will help, like cycling, running, or even High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but our tips are meant to get you prepared without hours at the gym or on the pavement.
Just make sure to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day. This will help build your lung capacity, blood circulation, and burn a few extra calories, meaning you can hike a little longer next time you head out.
- 50 jumping jacks
- 30 minutes of continuous walking
- 5 flights of stairs (Up and down)
As the adage goes, you can’t out run, or in this case, “out hike” your fork. No matter how hard you train, your diet will still hold you back if you are filling your body with garbage.
Our diet advice is pretty simple: eat lots of whole foods, veggies, fruits, lean meats, and dairy. Avoid processed items, grains, sugars, and too much fat. Basically avoid things in boxes, cook with fresh ingredients, and eat sensible portions.
Your diet doesn’t have to be perfect, but eating more good foods than bad foods is a great first step.
- You don’t have to cut our your favorite foods if they are bad for you, just eat them in moderation and in small portions.
- Celebrate a big hike or a hard day at the gym with a small treat, you deserve it!
Your feet don’t technically need a workout because all the above exercise will work the muscles in your feet, but you do need to focus on good hiking footwear. If you have new boots, take the time needed to properly break them in.
Nothing ruins a hike faster than aching feet, blisters, or a lousy fitting pair of boots.
- There is no quick or easy way to break in your boots. It takes time and patience. Start slow and break them in over time. Address hot spots and issues as they arise.
- If your boots are leather, treating the leather ensures the material is supple and soft. This can help break them in faster.
- Looking for new boots? Check out the thousands of user reviews and absolute best prices on top hiking footwear at RunRepeat.
Now that you are physically ready for a summer of adventure, don’t forget to stay safe on the trail. Make sure to outfit your pack with these well-known 10 essentials before you leave the house so you’ll be ready for anything the trail throws at you.
- Map or compass
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Extra clothing
- Headlamp or flashlight
- First-aid supplies
- Firestarter or matches
- Knife or multitool
- Extra food
- Most of your essential gear can usually fit into a small stuff sack. Outfit your pack once and never worry about being prepared again.
Paul Ronto has climbed and hiked all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. Today Paul is the CMO at RunRepeat.