Most weekend warriors don’t often think about the benefits of training for a hiking trip.
A wise man once said;
“hard work beats genius if genius forgets to work hard.”
Hiking may be more of a pastime than a sport, but the saying still holds nonetheless – especially if you plan to hike with a group.
You wouldn’t want to be prepared with all the gear just to end up slowing the group down or worse.
How does training help you avoid these situations?
What exactly do you get from training for a hiking trip?
Benefits of Training for a Hiking Trip
Preparing for a hike means more than just getting the right gear, you also need to prepare both your mind and body.
As an avid hiker and training junkie myself, I can tell you, you’ll enjoy hiking more when you’ve left nothing to chance.
Here we’ll discuss what you can expect out of training for your next big hiking trip.
1. You’ll Know Yourself Better
If you live a sedentary lifestyle and are just starting on this great pastime, you may not know exactly what you’re capable of yet.
This can be a good thing and a bad thing.
You may discover some natural talent for hiking. You may even be surprised to find you’ve hiked up a mountain without even breaking a sweat (lucky you).
On the other hand, you may instead find that you’ve barely walked a few meters uphill but your heart and lungs already feel like they’re on fire.
Training helps you discover your limits so you won’t be overly confident nor too timid when you’re finally out on the trails.
2. You’ll Avoid Blisters & Other Injuries
The sooner you’ve emptied your “hiking cup”, the sooner you’ll get the chance to grow.
One of the first benefits you’ll notice is how strong you’ll get. Your hike may have you jumping over streams, clambering on top of boulders, or balancing on fallen logs.
You can research what the terrain for your trip will be like, then look for places near your home with similar features.
I like to check out the National Geospatial Program Topo Maps prior to any large hikes.
If you don’t have a place to train with similar terrain, you can do some bodyweight exercises and combine them with briskly walking around your neighborhood.
However you choose to train, you’ll be surprised just how strong your training has made you come the day of your hiking trip.
What’s great is that this strength carries over beyond your hike and into your everyday life.
3. The Weather Won’t Bother You So Much
Another benefit you’ll notice is that the heat or cold won’t bother you as much as it used to.
You can prep everything before your trip but there’s nothing you can do if nature decides it’s time for a quick downpour or some chilly winds.
You often have to soldier through the trail as you deal with whatever the elements dish out.
This can be a trip ender for those that come unprepared so it’s always best to start getting used to hiking whatever the weather.
Always check the forecast before heading out on a hike.
4. You’ll Move Better
As we’ve mentioned earlier, you may very well be jumping over streams, clambering on top of boulders, or balancing on fallen logs while out on the trail.
If you find some way to train that mimics those situations, you won’t just become stronger but you’ll be much better at moving your body over, under, around, or through those obstacles.
If you’ve ever found yourself losing your breath while climbing upstairs, spraining an ankle every time you misplace your step or having trouble getting up from the couch or your bed, this particular training benefit may surprise you the most.
5. Training Improves Your Mood
Hiking takes time.
Training for hiking takes time.
Because of all the time you’ll spend training, you have more time away from your thoughts.
This helps you decompress your mind from all the pressures of work, school, and relationships.
It can even function as a form of meditation since you’ll be focusing solely on your next step.
If you’re out in nature during training, you’ll lose even more stress and feel calmer and more peaceful according to several scientific studies.
There’s just something about disconnecting from modernity and reconnecting with nature.
Here are the 8 Ways Hiking Makes You Happy.
6. Motivation to Reach a Fitness Goal
With all the time you’re spending moving your body through various terrain and obstacles on your training, you won’t even think about stuffing yourself full with pizza, cake, or ice cream.
Whether it’s because of your mind focusing on the terrain or the adrenaline rush of overcoming an obstacle that stopped you before, you’ll notice that you don’t feel hungry as much during training.
This results in your body better adapting to the task at hand by shedding excess weight.
Of course, if losing weight is your primary goal for hiking, you can speed up the process by making sure you eat fewer calories than you burn.
That said, I really enjoy pizza and a cold beer after a long hike. But only after I’ve earned it.
These are the Top 9 Muscle Recovery Foods To Eat.
7. You Get Better Sleep
The effect that exercise has on sleep is a benefit that’s both subtle but life-changing.
I say “subtle” because it’s not something you can show off, unlike your newfound strength or mobility. However, improving the sleep you get does wonders for your body, mind, and even your soul.
Deep sleep is the perfect time for your body to repair whatever damage you did to it during training.
This means you’ll be recovering faster and improving (getting better prepared for your hike) quicker.
You’ll also have more focus and clarity in your everyday life and find that you can solve problems at work or school much more efficiently.
Check out the Top 3 Reasons You Should Do More Hiking.
8. You’ll Be Better Prepared For Anything
At the end of the day, you’re training to prepare for your hiking trip.
By training in similar terrain and conditions, you experience how your trip may feel first-hand, albeit on a more manageable scale.
You’ll then gain more insight into what else you can do before or during your hiking trip.
Is navigation one of your weak points?
Does your canteen supply you with enough water for the trip?
What flora and fauna are safe and dangerous in the area you’re heading to?
Don’t forget What Gear To Bring On A Day Hike.
9. You’ll Be Able To Enjoy The Experience A Little More
At the end of the day, when you combine all of the aforementioned benefits, you will likely find yourself enjoying your outdoor experiences more than you ever have.
Rather than worrying about temperature, distance, terrain etc, you’ll be able to tune into the present moment and focus on the natural beauty that surrounds you.
These are just some of the questions that hiking training will make you ask yourself.
Answering them means you’re now better prepared for your trip.
Be sure to check out More Outdoor Adventure Guides here.
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To your next adventure!