No matter what level we are at right now, we ALL had to take those very first steps and work our way up to greater distances and heights in our individual hiking journeys. In this post, we will be exploring ways to build up our hiking stamina, so we can ALL climb our very own personal “mountains” – whether it be a hill – or Mount Everest!
While we are preparing our bodies and our minds for those longer, steeper hiking trails, we must be patient with ourselves. We should make a practice to commend ourselves in each new goal we reach, but at the same time, try to push ourselves just a little bit more in our daily accomplishments.
The first step to building our hiking stamina is to start off with small walks around our neighborhoods or on short hiking trails, preferably a few times a week, when we are not on our “real hikes.” Try to increase our walking distance by about 10% on every walk. One major advantage in building our stamina would be to find an area to walk that features some small hills. Take these hills slow and steady, and gradually we will build our strength, endurance, and stamina.
There is one item that will tremendously help us tackle these walks/hikes, hills and all – trekking poles!! Please refer to my post on “Walking Stick, Hiking Pole, Or Trekking Poles – Finding The Perfect Fit For You!” for all the information you need on trekking poles. I will say here that they will definitely give our bodies a much better workout, as they further enable our core, arm, shoulder, and back muscles, along with our leg muscles, adding much more body strength as well as a lot more calories burned. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a pair of trekking poles to start off with – I bought my husband and myself 2 sets from Amazon for Christmas, and they cost under $25! The Amazon link for our trekking poles is below:
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The next part of building our hiking stamina is to find some type of aerobic workout that focuses on building strength in our core and leg muscles. Personally, I absolutely LOVE Tae Bo! I just pop on one of the many Tae Bo workouts on YouTube. Even after the very first workout, you will feel your body growing stronger!
We should gradually increase our aerobic workouts up to 4 – 5 days per week, building up our endurance and our muscles!
Next, we need to work on our breathing techniques. We need to concentrate on pulling air deep into our lungs with our diaphragms a few times every day. In order to make sure that we are breathing correctly, we should breathe in through our noses, and place one hand on our stomachs. When we take in deep breaths, our chests should not move, but the hand on our stomachs should move out. Be sure to tighten those stomach muscles as we exhale!
Taking in deep breaths will help in preventing fatigue, as well as keeping us pushing along on the trails by providing more oxygen to our muscles.
Our last step in building up our hiking stamina is to practice mind control. Sometimes, a different outlook will help us to push ahead, enabling us to meet our hiking stamina goals in record time! We will have to get tough within our own minds, pushing ourselves in our aerobic workouts and walks. Challenge ourselves to push our bodies a little harder, encouraging ourselves to get to the top of that hill, or finding a longer, tougher aerobic workout. When we challenge our bodies to push harder, we are mentally preparing ourselves to leave our “comfort zone” and to reach new heights.