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It’s always an overwhelming feeling when you’re about to venture out something new, something big in life and if it’s something like your first mountain trip, then it’s butterflies nesting in your belly. November 17 was ‘Take a Hike Day’ a day made for all those who love mountain hiking. A trip to the mountains isn’t just about the majestic Tyndall effect of the sunlight peeping through the canopy of trees or a small brook flowing in the foothills of the mountains with shimmering reflections of the sun, it’s more than that.
Mountain hiking involves a lot of physical endurance and stamina for treading through those inclined/declined roads which are rocky, uneven and at times dangerous. If you’re planning for your first hilly journey, then you probably need to indulge in the following activities.
Preparing for The Big Day
The first and foremost step is exercising. If you do not have the considerable fitness levels, then you will face lot of hardships in walking up and down the hill roads. Moreover, you have a heavy backpack with you to carry along, so at least 5-6 weeks of intense training and workout is what you need. Following are some steps which you must follow.
Walk, Walk, Walk!
Walking is the easiest and best way to maintain a good health. Since the daunting task of mountain hiking requires long hours of promenading, you must practice brisk walking for 2 hours daily. The benefits of walking include-
- Shedding of extra kilos/pounds
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Improved Stamina
- Balance and Coordination in your body functioning
All these are the positives of walking and the factors which count in the roughest terrains. Long walks including climbing mountains make you run out of steam at times, therefore you need to walk it out to increase your fitness levels.
Climb Up/Climb Down
A mandatory aspect of mountain trips or trekking is the climbing part. Climbing actually is the most herculean tasks one faces during such journeys, so it’s important to prepare zestfully for that. To get into practice, you must climb stairs rigorously. Experts say that 5-10 minutes of stair climbing reduces the risk of heart attacks tremendously. Another advantage of climbing stairs is that it’s a boon for your thighs and calves. Regular stair climbing gives you better reflexes and stronger muscles.
If you’re a heart patient, consult your physician beforehand.
Since travelling requires long of walks with a heavy backpack on your back, a sudden weight on your shoulders sans practice may become a spoilsport during your maiden voyage. If you can find a weight vest of say, 5 kilos (11 lbs) then try to jog or run with it loaded on your back for 2-3 minutes. Repeat this exercise for 5 times a day at least. Gradually you can increase the weight up to 10 kilos (22 pounds) and go for a jog/run. If you aren’t able to find a weight vest fill your backpack with newspapers, books, dumbbells (if you have) to the desired weight.
Every Day is Leg Day
Post your cardiovascular exercises, what you need to focus on is the wonderful pair of twins you’ve got. If you’re into playing sports like football, hockey, rugby, etc increase your routine of play as sports which involve a lot of running can be the best exercise for your legs. Cycling is an effective technique to boost up your leg exercise. If you’re a gym freak, then you can practice the following leg exercises on a daily basis.
- Leg Curls
- Swiss Ball Leg Curls
- Dumbbell Deadlifts
- Barbell Calf Raise
- Swiss Ball Wall Squat
- Overhead Lunges
- Standing Calf Raise
Repeat those exercises in sets of 5-7 every day and have your legs prepared to withstand any terrain. You can also find out more about How to Strengthen Weak Legs.
Eat On the Go
While this fitness regime is in full flow, you need to prepare for an appetite which is fit for those high altitudes. During the trip, continuous walking will consume a lot of energy from your body and hunger will strike frequently, so you need to carry granola bars, sandwiches, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables like bananas, apples, carrots, etc.
But before you set your foot for the hills, you must consume a lot of protein rich foods. Eggs, bacon, fish, peanut butter, bean salad with chives, spinach enchiladas, omelette, meat, chicken, etc are the types you can have for your lunch, breakfast or dinner.
Another important aspect is hydration. You should always consume more and more water as your body can and will dehydrate pretty soon. Furthermore, water flushes out toxins from your body and relieves fatigue.
As they say, ‘Sweat is just fat crying’, you need to pull up your socks and gear up for your first hike with full flow. A push for a healthy physique will incline you to increase your fitness levels. Do carry all your essentials as well as a first-aid kit along and junk them all in a top quality travel backpack. Do take breathtaking photographs.
***This article is a guest post from Biswajit Bhattacharya – a creative writer at TrendyBharat.com, an Indian based eCommerce marketplace. Apart from being a passionate writer, Biswajit is a sports freak, cinema lover and theatre enthusiast.
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