Train for the trails to make most of hiking season

Fall is a great time to hit the trails. Colorful scenery, cooler temperatures, less bugs and lower humidity all contribute to make a very pleasant experience. But, are you ready to take to the trails?

Hiking, particularly in mountainous regions, may lead you to strenuous climbs that will require some serious integration of muscle activity. These muscles include, but are not limited to, your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, low back and abdominals. Before you can experience all these trails have to offer, you may need to put in work for the reward.

Getting yourself ready for hiking involves a three-pronged approach that includes strength training, cardiovascular training, and nutrition.

Squats and dead lifting the appropriate weight (for you) will help your body adapt to and handle the stress placed on the muscles during a hike. An adequate program will allow you to blaze the trail with very little breakdown of the body during and after the work, leaving you only with the feeling of success post hike.

Do not be fooled, moving up or down the mountain can leave you gasping for air if you are not prepared. Integrating steady bouts of cardiovascular activity that mimics the activity of hiking is a great way to prepare for hiking. An incline treadmill or a stair mill can be used to imitate a hillside climb. Just simple walking around your neighborhood is invaluable exercise.

Healthy carbohydrates, fats and proteins in your regular diet will help sustain your body from start to finish. Depending on the length of your hike, you should consider packing a healthy snack. Protein bars or fresh fruit and nuts can easily be transported on your hike. Do not forget to hydrate properly and bring enough water for the distance you wish to travel.

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