While all hiking can be rewarding and improve your general well being, there’s something primal within us that craves the sense of adventure and pride of the accomplishment that a strenuous hike can bring. Many of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to go out and do a 12 miler with 2,000 vertical feet of elevation gain on a whim. If you want to be able to bag peaks effortlessly, you probably need to do a liiiittle bitttt of training.
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I love to hike, but hiking strenuous trails that get me off the beaten path and lost—hopefully only in the figurative sense—in nature is one of my many joys in life.
For me, there is no better recipe for improving my overall state of well-being like stepping foot on a trail surrounded by large pine trees knowing that in a few hours I’ll be looking down upon them while standing beside a gorgeous alpine lake.
How Much Cardio Is Needed To Hike Better
Less than you think, but probably more than you do.
If you aren’t doing any form of cardio currently, then you will want to start with 30 minutes 3 times a week. I know you’re eager to challenge yourself but the key component with building a strong cardiovascular base is gradual progressive training.
Aim to only push yourself 10% harder each week. This means, start off with walking. Once you can walk 30 minutes with ease, add a hill, add some stairs, walk in soft sand at the beach, etc.
Then, start running. Try one minute on, four minutes off and repeat six times. Build up to 5 minute, then 10, 15, 20, 25 minute intervals until eventually, you are running 30 minutes at a time. Next, you can build up to running faster or adding sprint intervals.
Cross training works too. You don’t have to only walk or run. Any sustained elevation in heart rate combined with a good strength training program will get you hiking more and hiking harder trails while also feeling better doing it.
Our Fit to Hike program integrates a combination of sustained cardio, cross training, and HIIT training to make sure your training is fun and still effective.