It’s that time of year again. Winter’s end is in sight (at least on the calendar, anyway). You’re finding yourself lusting for summer. Those daydreams you’ve been having of future hiking and camping trips are becoming more and more real. Maybe you’re planning a 3-week end-to-end of the Rideau Trail (like us, this time last year), or a week-long family camping trip, or a weekend canoe trip, or a handful of day hikes. Maybe you’re simply committing to hiking more regularly and mentally preparing yourself for that. Whatever it is that you have in the works, you may feel the need to get your body ready for it too. I felt this need last winter and worked up a plan to get in shape!
The best way to get in shape for hiking is by hiking.
To be totally honest, the best way to get in shape for a hiking trip is by hiking. That’s the only way you’re really going to prepare your body to do what it needs to do on the trails. But sometimes your schedule or the weather or your children don’t cooperate and you need an alternative. Or maybe you’re like me and have no creativity when it comes to indoor exercise and need someone or something telling you what to do. Enter the “Get Your Body Trail-Ready Training Plan”.
This is a 21-week (SAY WHAT?!) plan that I came up with to help my husband and me physically prepare for our backpacking trip. It is 21 weeks long simply because we had 21 weeks until our scheduled departure. Use it like a bible or sample from it like a menu – it’s totally up to you. In fact, I strongly suggest picking it apart and making it your own since every body is different and this was designed for my body (and my super-organized, detail-oriented, teacher brain). And with the way that it’s laid out, you can easily substitute activities and apps that work for you, do a little here and a little there as your schedule permits, and omit whatever isn’t your cup of tea. You can also completely ignore the plan and just use the exercise choice board.
DISCLAIMER: Due to my being pregnant, we didn’t end up finishing this training plan or going on the 3-week backpacking trip, but I can tell you that hiking while pregnant was a whole lot easier for the time spent getting my body ready.
Click image for PDF.
- This training plan is based on our need to hike between 5 and 8 hours a day to reach our destination.
- Men shouldn’t carry a pack weighing more than 33% of their body weight.
- Women shouldn’t carry a pack weighting more than 25% of their body weight.
- Children shouldn’t carry a pack weighting more than 10-15% of their body weight.
- Dogs shouldn’t carry a pack weighing more than 25% of their body weight.
- Anyone carrying a pack should slowly acclimatize their body to carrying the weight – start with lighter weights and shorter hikes, the dog included!
- This isn’t a one-size fits all thing, do what works for you and above of all get out on the trails!
On another note, I haven’t tried this with a child (and mine is a little too young anyway: head control first, then hike training!) but would love to know if the exercises adapt easily to little bodies.