Getting Fit for Hiking

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 6 Mar 2024

We work on our fitness all year round in preparation for our seasons of hiking and we always encourage our guests to start getting fit well before the tours start. The benefits are manifold and lead to an increased level of enjoyment and a reduced risk of injuries and health niggles during the tour. First-time guests are often worried that they will not be as fit as others in the group. A little preparation, with some targeted exercises each day, will help to dispel those fears. As we now have a couple months to go until the start of our European season, it is time to get focussed and start your fitness regime!


Work on cardiovascular exercise to help your endurance levels for the longer days on trips, ideally around 20 mins each day. This could be running, cycling or gym sessions - anything which raises the heart rate and gets the lungs working!  Members of our team keep fit with many different activities: skiing, dancing, playing tennis, swimming or briskly walking the dog - the key is to find an exercise which you enjoy so that the activity is pleasurable.
There are many exercises you can do at home which don't need lots of kit or pricey club memberships.  Squats, lunges, planks and press-ups can easily be achieved daily in the comfort of your own home. Just doing ten squats whilst waiting for the kettle to boil builds strength and doesn't eat into your free time.  Resistance bands or free weights will give your muscles a bit more of a challenge.  And wherever you are - take the stairs!  It takes up no extra time but gets the leg muscles working, and you will reap the benefits on the ascents during the tour.

We are big fans of Pilates and Yoga for keeping the body strong and supple.  These disciplines work on core strength, balance and flexibility, and help to combat daily stresses which can take their toll on the body. Jackie's own Pilates teacher in Bright has designed an on-line series of exercises to prepare hikers for their trips, and this can be purchased for $35.00 for the four-part course. Find out more here.  
It is really important to practise before the trip on different types of terrain, including up and down hills, on rocky surfaces, grass or shale.  Working on your foot placement on uneven ground will build your confidence when you get out on the trail.  Stand on one leg whilst brushing your teeth or chatting on the phone - and make sure you do this on both legs equally, as one is always stronger than the other.

We can't stress enough times how important it is to wear in your boots before you start the tour and to walk out in the kit you will be using on the holiday. Footwear and clothing that chafes or rubs can really reduce your enjoyment. Practise as well with your rucksack, filling it with approximately the weight you will be carrying on the tour. If you are not accustomed to walking with poles, practise with these too - adjusting the height and working on how to place them for maximum benefit for your knees and overall balance.

Hydration and Nutrition
When you are practising, always set off well-hydrated and make sure you carry enough water to see you through the duration of your hike.  Dried fruits and nuts are the best snacks for hiking - replenishing lost salts and boosting energy if you start to slow down.  And always remember that a good diet and a good night's sleep will do wonders for your energy levels and help you to fully rest and recover after a long hike.

Find out more about our recommendations for the best hiking kit, and sustainable hiking clothing.