Climb every mountain... or so the song goes, but it's only fun if you are feeling fit.
Hiking is not - or should not be - a competitive sport, but it makes sense to consider how you can best prepare yourself a few weeks or months before your multi-day tour.
Having sore muscles after the first day makes the next hiking day anything but a pleasure. Apart from being fit, it is also vital to do something for your balance.
Balance diminishes as we age. Therefore, it's important to strengthen your sense of balance so you feel steadier and able to take safe steps, especially when hiking in rough terrain.
Your ligaments and muscles will need to be strengthened. Are your muscles 'used to' moving for four to six hours a day? And carrying a backpack, even if it is just a day pack, makes the strain more significant.
It would be ideal to go on a day hike at least once a week for a few months before your trip and to cover a few meters of altitude with a weighted pack on your back. But for most people, this is not feasible.
Maybe you live on the flat and don't have hiking terrain right at your doorstep or simply (like most people) you just don't have the spare time.
What about a gym membership? This works for some people but most of us have joined a gym with great intentions and ended up with not much willpower to last.
So here's some tips for the easiest way to prepare for a multi-day hike...
Although hiking in the hills is not a walk, regular walking helps to get you fit for your next hike! You can also use longer walks (over an hour) close to home to break in your hiking boots.
The emphasis here is on regular walks; an easy way to do this is to try for the infamous 10,000 (to 20,000) steps and walk them daily. Maybe before work each day or during your lunch hour. The important thing here is every day - make it a routine and you are more likely to keep it up.
After a couple of weeks you could start adding a daypack with some weight. Just put everything you will carry on your tour in there: a rain jacket, warm sweater, at least one litre of water or maybe hot tea, your camera, and if it's lunchtime you could pack your lunch.
Try walking even if the weather is not ideal, just make sure you are warm and dry. This is a good time to test that your hiking gear works even if it is stormy or raining.
For those who like it a little faster jogging is a great option. About 5 km twice a week is perfect training for your next hiking tour. You not only improve your endurance but also train your feet and leg muscles at the same time.
Nordic Walking is the joint-gentle alternative to jogging and fantastic endurance training. A hit in Europe for many years but in New Zealand it is still little known. Nordic Walking strengthens your whole body by using walking poles. Check it out on Google.
During your Sidetracks Women multi-day hike, you will also build up your fitness and become more efficient day after day.
By the last day you will be feeling as fit as you wished you would have been on the first day.
And that's the perfect time to sign up directly for the next Sidetracks Women tour to stay in shape ;-)
Remember it's all about "use it or lose it" - now is the right time to start using it...
PS: If you are not sure which of the hikes best suits your fitness level, talk with us, we are happy to advise you!
PPS: Start Walking, Jogging or Nordic Walking TODAY!!!!