3 ESSENTIAL AREAS TO FOCUS ON
Backpacking in the mountains puts a fun twist on the standard camp out. By packing all your gear miles from the nearest roads, you can leave the whole world behind and just exist in nature. That said, backpacking can also put a lot of strain on your body — unless you properly prepare for it.
Peak backpacking season isn’t too far away, but it could take a couple of months to physically prepare for your next big trip. So, now is the perfect time to start working toward some of the following fitness goals:
Increase Muscle Strength and Endurance
Your leg and core muscles, as well as your shoulders and lower back (to a lesser extent), will do most of the heavy lifting when you’re hauling a 30–50-pound pack up a trail. With that in mind, you should devote two nonconsecutive days each week to strengthening these muscle groups. A few good exercises to increase leg strength are jump squats, single-leg deadlifts, step-ups, and hip rolls. A simple way people can increase core strength is by doing planks.
Improve Your Cardio Health
Backpacking includes a lot of walking while carrying heavy weight at a high altitude, which means it’s just as important to get your cardiovascular system into shape as it is to strengthen your muscles. Dedicate three days each week — alternating with your strength training days — to building your cardio health with activities like trail running, biking, swimming, or other aerobic exercises.
Improve Your Balance
Backpacking trails are rough, and you’ll need good balance to navigate obstacles and step over boulders, creeks, and large roots. The good news is that increased strength and balance go hand in hand. Building up the muscles in your legs and core will help improve your balance, as will taking walks or runs on uneven trails or terrain.
These are just a few quick tips to help you get in shape this backpacking season. For more in-depth instructions, check out these websites: