How to stay in shape throughout the trek? Here are a few tips and valuable advice for beginners or for more experienced hikers.
Advice number 1: Training
This is the most important advice. The ideal is to practice regular physical activity, everyone at his own level, on bicycle, on foot, regardless, to develop your endurance.
If you cannot run a long distance, no problem, you can run a little, then walk, and resume the running.
It is necessary to start slowly and do not force: this is not the speed that is important, but rather the length! 40 minutes are recommended at a minimum; otherwise, your body does not even realize the exercise.
A walk in a park on the flat, even if it is pleasant, will not make you progress physically. For that training to be effective, it must cause a small tiredness… the heart, the lungs… we must feel them in motion.
We need to make your body “tired” kindly, to be able to make progress, but without ever forcing it too much: a delicate balance!
And only once is not helping at all. We have to be persistent and train two or three times per week, regularly, and let our body time to rest between sessions.
And little by little, we feel better and training becomes a pleasure!
We can also work our technique and flexibility: during a hike, you get tired more if we must force ourselves to make big movements.
Working our flexibility is a big plus. After an effort, we can therefore do some stretching.
But rest assured you, for those who do not have the time to train before their departure, no problem. As long as you have a healthy body weight, it is possible.
The trick is to choose an adapted hike or hiking paths less technical.
You must especially choose well your circuit and not overestimate yourself: if we see that we are well on an easy hike, we can then aspire to others a little more difficult, always gradually.
Your body will eventually adapt to this change in effort and exercises.
Advice number 2: Find your pace
Finding your pace is important but not as easy as you think. If you get tired, you must make an effort to walk slowly, because fatigue often comes from an inappropriate pace.
The advice here, in case of fatigue, is to walk even more slowly, because this will allow to keep going and not stop too often.
The group must not start quickly, in order to give the organism time to adapt to the walk and not to get exhausted over time.
One of the roles of the leader is to manage the pace and pay attention to everyone. A small pace is more efficient: we can walk for hours and hours without getting tired.
It is particularly essential to avoid the worst of things to do, which is to accelerate to catch up with a group, then stop to catch your breath, then accelerate again.
Advice number 3: Hydrate and feed yourself
Before, during, and after the effort, you should drink 4 liters, therefore vary the drinks allows you to reach that goal: tea, drinks, soup, water. When it is hot you can drink up to 7 or 8 liters.
Hydrating is important, because with 2% of weight loss in fluid, you will lose 20% of your physical capacity.
And it will also avoid muscle pain after hiking, or heavy legs. So even when the weather is not hot, we drink.
And we eat! Having a nutritious breakfast is the foundation. Fluids, fast sugars, starch. Some proteins will make the action of the starchy foods more effective.
For hiking, make sure you have a few energy bars, but without excess, because too much sugar can have the opposite effect.
For lunch stop, try to focus on light foods but good things you like and varied at the same time.
And in the evening you should eat starchy foods (pasta, rice), protein (meat), salads, and even a little natural fat: salami, ham.
You must eat neither too much nor too little.
You should not, for example, get into your head that you are going to go for a mountain hike to lose weight! The mountain is not a place to eat less.
Advice number 4: Walk light
In order to spare yourself, it is good to carry light gear:
- a lightweight backpack and of good quality will contribute to feel better during the hike,
- do not take take unnecessary things, but do not forget useful things,
- avoid heavy hiking shoes or boots in easy hiking paths, they will slowly weigh on your feet,
- do not wear too many clothes, if you don’t need to, to have the freedom of movements.
Advice number 5: Finish with some stretching
If your muscles are painful, it is surely because you didn’t drink enough water. In the evening, for those who like it, drink a beer, it is refreshing and full of vitamin B and it helps the relaxation of the muscles.
For those who do not like, beer yeast is a good alternative.
If you keep on feeling pain, in addition to keep on drinking, we will never insist enough on this one, paracetamol or aspirin can help.
Cramps occur mainly because of the loss of mineral salts during sweating. You should compensate with mineral water or an isotonic drink.
Bananas are also good, they contain plenty of potassium! Moreover you should avoid mineral waters poor in salt.
A good soup also helps for re-hydration and helps avoiding cramps.
These small things contribute to the well-being during hiking.