Fit For Adventure
by Laura Draskovich
Spring is coming! If you love the outdoors like me, you live for getting out in the sun and fresh air. Another thing I love is working out. (It’s true! I live in workout clothes and ponytails.) Hiking is a happy union of the two. Beginner or experienced, solo or with a group (or pooch!), hiking is easily adaptable and can be as easy or difficult as you wish. With the huge bonus of having some of the most beautiful and breathtaking scenery practically in our backyards, there are many options for incorporating your fitness lifestyle into an outdoor adventure. De-stress, revive, and restore. Get the blood pumping and endorphins flowing. Are you in?
Getting Ready For Your Hiking Adventure
While hiking can be exhilarating, it can be physically demanding. Conditioning your body for the trail will take some preparation. Being physically ready for a long trail with uneven terrain will help ensure an enjoyable day’s hike and lessen the likelihood of an injury along the way. First, you should assess your current fitness status. For example, if you are in mediocre shape, you might give yourself six weeks of physical preparation. Generally, two to eight weeks is recommended, depending on your state of fitness, (more if you haven’t been in the gym for six months or more).
The ability of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels to efficiently deliver oxygen rich blood to the working muscle tissue and the ability of the muscles to utilize oxygen is the role of CVE. A recommended training schedule is five days a week for 30-50 minutes at a moderate intensity level. Interval workouts can prepare you for varying terrain (climbing hills). Example: treadmill walking on incline 10 minutes, decline treadmill five minutes, elliptical 10 minutes, stairclimber 10 minutes.
Building strength and muscular endurance is important. You want to enjoy yourself, not feel wiped out by your first hour. Plus, being strong will help you to stay injury free. Maintaining your balance and stability on uneven terrain may be the most important aspect of your training. You will want to adopt a program that targets back, chest, shoulders, arms, glutes, and core. Don’t forget ankle strength and flexibility. You should dedicate a minimum of three to four days for strength training each week.
Feuling for Adventure
Scramble with more energy. Feed your body with quality and convenient, energy rich food. Nutrition is always key, however, it becomes crucial when placing higher physical demands on yourself. Plan and prep whole food meals. Select lean protein, fresh, fibrous vegetables and fruit, high fiber carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of water. Fiber fills you up, so try to choose fiber rich foods. Things to avoid? You guessed it – sugar and processed/premade foods, which have low nutritional value and are often packed with additives including salt and sugar. Yuck!
For snacking/fueling on the trail, go for lightly salted or salt-free raw nuts, no sugar added dried fruit, low-fat granola (make your own for quality control), and protein bars (my favorite are Quest bars). Check your health food store for more ideas.
Incorporate fitness outdoors whenever you can. De-stress by getting away into nature. Breathe in fresh air. Listen to the sounds. Admire and marvel at the beauty in which we are so blessed to be surrounded. Explore new territory on your own, with your dog, a friend, or a group. Meetup.com is one way to meet like minded individuals with similar interests. If you have been in a fitness rut, this may be your schtick. Nature has a way of picking us up and putting us in a better place with a renewed perspective. See you on the trail!
Until next time, keep living the fit life.