Conditioning Tips: Getting the Most out of Your Hiking Trip

Walking and hiking vacations have grown in popularity as people realize that the best way to learn a place is with your feet. Our guests also love the physical benefits of a relaxing hiking vacation, and, especially, the ability to eat well and not gain weight!  In order to enjoy and be ready for your hiking vacation, it is really important to get into shape, and to take your fitness program out of the gym and onto the trail.  We have provided a few tips below on how to get on a walking program, as well as how to prepare on the trail. There is simply no replacement for hiking on the types of trails that you'll encounter on your trip. 

Tips for getting onto a walking program:

  • Keep a journal and start out by recording the amount that you are currently walking each week.  A pedometer can be fun and provide motivation. If you are logging over 10,000 steps a day you are currently quite active.
  • Consult your doctor, especially if you are over 40 or have health risks or health problems. 
  • Schedule a realistic time to integrate walking into your busy routine. 
  • Start small, increasing your walking level by 20% each week over what you are currently walking.  Your goal should be to work up to one hour, 4+ times per week.
  • Find beautiful places to walk and involve a buddy:  this is supposed to be fun, not medicine.
  • Get good walking shoes with cushioning under the heel, a flexible and wide toe box, a firm mid-sole, and a 1/2 inch between your toes and the end of the shoe.
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Considering using trekking poles for a much better workout. We also recommend trekking poles for hiking so this is a good chance to get used to them.
  • Stand up straight when you walk, even in the uphills.  Imagine a string pulling up on your head and running straight down through your body.
  • Use a heel-to-toe motion, rolling forward onto your toe with each stride.
  • Stretch before and after walking:  it feels great and helps prevent injuries.
  • Use a talking pace:  you should work up to a walk that is brisk enough for you to just barely be able to maintain a conversation.

While your walking program is a great foundation, it is not enough to prepare you for a hiking vacation on trails and in the woods.  The only way to do this is to actually hit the trail and hike.  We suggest you go hiking at least once a week, and ideally twice a week, for at least three months before your trip.  You should be hiking in the same kind of terrain that you will encounter on your hiking vacation, and working up to the same number of miles. While you cannot always replicate the altitude, you can create a reasonable facsimile of the hikes you will experience on your trip.  We suggest joining a local hiking group as a great way to safely and enjoyably prepare. Please contact us at info@bredeson.com for more information or with questions. We'd be happy to help you research hike in your area that are a good match for your Bredeson Outdoor Adventures tour.