Getting In Shape

Since I’m having to take a hiatus from hiking (per the doctors orders), I’ve been trying to find ways to stay in shape and build muscle so that when I get back on the trails it won’t be such a shock to my body.

I’ve been doing a bit of research to find the most effective exercises. My first focus was overall fitness and strength. I wanted to focus on my core muscles and then expand to include arms, shoulders, back, and legs. As those exercises become easier I’ll start adding more exercises that focus on muscles that we use as hikers and backpackers. The other thing I needed to focus on was flexibility, I’ll admit that I’m a little ashamed of how inflexible I am at the moment (which is actually part of the reason that my knees are struggling). So with that in mind I’ve set out to do yoga every day, I’ve got videos ranging from 15 mins – 1 hour in length.

Personally, I do a lot better when there’s a challenge and a goal to reach toward. So I found some great 30 day challenges, which you can find at www.30dayfitnesschallenges.com:

Last week I did yoga every day, starting this week I will be doing these exercises along with my physical therapy exercises. Next week I plan to add weights to the workout along with exercises that are more beneficial to backpacking.

I found a great article on Backpacker Magazine: How To Get In Shape For Hiking

As I get stronger and more comfortable with the fact that my knees aren’t going to just die on me I plan on adding to the intensity. But since I can barely do a squat without losing my balance due to my knee giving out, I’ve decided it’s probably best for me to take it slow and focus on one thing at a time. My goal for right now is short-term, just get through the month with these thirty-day challenges, slowly build intensity and weights, and just adding to the workout a little at a time. I’ll also be focusing heavily on yoga, if I’ve learned anything from yoga, it’s that it can build strength and flexibility without putting too much pressure on your joints, which is something I really need to be conscious of at the moment.

Having this workout goal has really helped me get out of my trail blues. I know that I can’t hike right now so having something else to focus on has been really great.

I’ve also found these two articles to be pretty helpful:

How Do I Train for a Thru-Hike?

and

Train Smarter

Both articles are from Backpacker Magazine, they have great fitness resources for people of all ages. It’s hard to know where to start sometimes, especially if you’re starting from scratch, so by looking through their articles and scouring Pinterest and Google, I was able to come up with some good stepping-stones for myself. I’m sure that I’ll be adjusting my workouts along the way, one size doesn’t fit all! For now, at least, I feel like I have a pretty solid start and hopefully I’ll be back on the trails in no time!

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