You’ve been hitting the trails more often and you love the way you feel when you spend time in Nature. So why not take it to the next level and aim for a multi-day hike?
Shannon & I (Amanda) on a recent 4-day hiking trip to Wilsons Prom
Whilst it may seem a lofty goal to some, it’s the empowerment and sense of accomplishment from such an adventure that excites if not scares you a little. Armed with information, training, and the right approach, a weekend of hiking and camping is achievable for any of us!
Growth comes from doing the hard things when we face challenges and overcome them equipped with the mental and physical fortitude that we have trained.
If we prepare ourselves, create a solid foundation built on strength and determination, not only can we accomplish a multi-day hike, we will flourish and thoroughly enjoy the experience all the more.
Empowerment through hiking!
There are a number of considerations before taking on a multi-day hike from how you move; how you nourish your body and strengthen mental capacity. Each aspect is interconnected and required for such an experience.
The following weeks will cover;
Adrian (fellow hiker) & I with our head in the clouds, resting top Mt Oberon, Wilsons Prom.
This week's focus:
A common misconception is that hiking is just walking in the bush. The path is often undulating and offers obstacles like tree roots, boulders, or steep climbs and descend, each of which creates a different challenge, more so when you’ve got a loaded pack.
We utilize every muscle in the body when hiking and technique, speed, and your core strength will come into play more often than you think in preventing injuries.
Increase incidental exercise; take the stairs, walk the dog, just get movement into your body- the old catch cry “ use it or lose” applies here
Hike technique; a smaller gait gives more control and takes the pressure off calves, ankles, and tendons. Small changes to your technique will ensure that you go the distance. When walking up a hill, lean forwards slightly into the incline. This will use our body more efficiently to move and the incline more acute. The descent, switch this technique by leaning back a little, not too far.
Arm yourself: in a controlled way to generate full-body action to climb a hill or use trekking poles to distribute the weight from the lower body. Hiking is a full-body exercise so activates the arms to get more out of your workout and take the pressure off your legs
Hiking with poles helps to distribute our body weight
Warm-up & Cool down –prevent strains and pains by warming up the muscles before a walk. Legs swings, windmills, and dynamic stretches are a great way to warm up before a walk and post-hike, make sure you stretch them out. Both Dynamic (warm-up) and Static (cool down) stretches are beneficial for any exercise.
Recovery; this is KEY to injury prevention and is multi-faceted; Sleep/rest, Nutrition, Stretches/movement will all help to prevent muscle aches and pains, in addition, provide adequate support for recovery. When we exercise, in particular, our muscles receive micro-tears that each requires time to rebuild – this is how we build muscles and gain strength but with inadequate rest, we invite injuries.
A gentle walk is ideal after a big day hike.
Risk mitigation; Carrying extra weight (don’t we all at times?!), recovering from injuries, deconditioned, improper walking form, or going to fast will all present as risks if not managed correctly. Ensure that any injuries are discussed with your Allied Health Practitioner prior to commencing hikes.
Coreworx; engaging your core will support your spine, glutes, and legs whilst hiking. Brigitte Comelli from Coreworx Studio in Mornington suggests:
“Pilates and Barre offer a strong foundation for hiking lovers! Using your legs, glutes, and core strength to improve balance, stability, and stamina as you make your way through the glorious outdoors on sometimes uncertain terrain. Pilates will also help elongate your spine, strengthen your back, and lengthen your muscles which will assist you with carrying your packs. It is a total body workout for any fitness level and totally complimentary to Hiking!”
Brigitte builds her bum for hiking strength- Coreworx Studio Mornington
A holistic approach to injury prevention is required to ensure that you are creating a solid foundation of fitness prior to jumping feet first into a new adventure.
If you're keen to find personal empowerment through hiking, join me on an upcoming hike where I cover all aspects of building an adventurous life; holistically.