Hiking lets you get closer to nature and also shed some unwanted fat from the body. You don’t have to force yourself like you do while going to the gym to exercise. Hiking keeps you motivated so you explore and make your body workout with your own will. And to further increase your motivation this guide is all about letting you know that why is hiking such a complete lower body workout?
The lower body consists of many muscles. For each of these muscles, you need to follow special techniques. And how you are going to apply these techniques while hiking is indeed beneficial for staying healthy and working out. We all know that giving the lower body workout is needed to make a person more energetic and to increase strength which greatly improves health.
Enough with the blabbering. Let us have a look at things you can do while hiking to give different parts of your lower body the ultimate workout while you enjoy exploring nature.
How does Hiking work As A Lower Body Workout?
Hikers are well known for having great glutes. Anyone who does not have glutes can follow certain instructions while they hike.
For tightening up your glutes, all you need to do is add weight in your backpack. The weight should be heavy enough so that your body has to lift it. Again, make sure that it is not too heavy. Otherwise, it can cause pain in your back or arms.
To add more, to tighten your glutes choose a hiking spot that has an inclined surface like a hill. When you try to climb hill pressure will be applied to your glutes giving them a workout. However, if you hike with weight on a flat surface you will not be able to cause such changes to your glutes. But yes, it will be a great cardio exercise.
With gradual timing, you will start noticing changes in your glutes. And if you are worried about the weight lifting part, you will do that easily as the beauty of nature will keep you distracted from the slight difficulty you are having.
If you have a plan of setting out for a long hike you need some preparation. Making preparations of gears and packing up essential things requires days of preparation. But preparing the body for a long hike requires weeks of preparation. And some people who are new to hiking don’t realize the importance of it unless they face difficulty on their long hikes.
You need to strengthen your quads for long hikes. As hikes are not only about climbing hills, you need to come down from hills and the muscle engaged for doing this is your quadriceps. If your quads are not strong enough, you will face soreness and bitter experiences.
Hence, before you set off for long hikes on large just find out a small hill in your local area. Do some downhill lunges on the hill to bring your quadriceps into shape within a few weeks. And if you don’t want to work out like this, then go on short hikes to get some experiences before going on adventurous long hikes.
Preparing your calves:
The engagement of your calves and give it a workout depends on the load that you will be lifting. If the weight of your lift is heavy your calves and ankles will be engaged a lot and for that, you will need them to be strong.
Just to make sure that your calves are all set for the long hiking trip you can take some tests. For the test, you just need to have a small block. Then, step on the block keep your toes on the surface and lifting your ankles upwards. The whole weight of your body will be lifted by the frontal part of your foot.
After that, you can start putting your heels down until you feel your calves are getting stretched. If you calve and ankles are strong enough you can do this test at least 60 times and take breaks three times in the middle. If you fail in doing the test, you need to do some extra workout to strengthen them. While you try out some basic exercises for making your calves and ankles strong make sure you lift some weight.
The group of muscles that will be getting the most exercise are your hamstrings. For longer hikes, you need to carry a lot of essential things making the load heavy. For lifting that heavy backpack your hamstrings will give you the ultimate support you need.
With your experiences in hiking, you will know whether or not your hamstrings are strong enough. That is why you need to research the type of terrain you will be hiking on to know whether your hamstrings can handle it. The hiking trail is very soft; your heels will sink it due to your body weight. When you try to lift your heels and then walk pressure will be applied to your hamstrings.
And just like how you have to prepare your calves, do the same thing for your hamstrings as well. Preparing hamstrings need to begin weeks before your long hiking adventure.
You cannot overlook the strength of your hamstrings. Since, if you have weak hamstrings you are at great risk of getting injured because of stepping on unstable surfaces. The best way to prepare your hamstrings is to walk on your toes as frequently as you can.
Keep yourself motivated by thinking about hiking the entire time while you prepare your hamstrings. The beauty that you get to see while exploring and climbing hills makes all the working out worth it.
If you did not work out for a long time and yet you are planning to go on hiking, that decision might make you regret it. No matter how much your calves, hamstrings, and ankles engage in lifting a heavy load of your backpack, your lower back will still take on pressure.
And if your lower back is not prepared and gets sudden load put on it, it will be sore the next day. You will feel pain and difficulty while moving and because of extreme conditions you might get injured as well.
Keeping this in mind you need to give your lower back the perfect shape for hiking. During winter when conditions are rough and tough hikers take a break from hiking and forget about giving their back a workout. Don’t do that mistake.
Practice some exercises with a heavy load so that your lower back gets used to lifting the weight. Do some squats while you have your heavy backpack worn on. To add more, do some abdominal exercises that will help you make your core stronger and as well as fix your body posture. Your lower back will be able to take on the pressure by getting used to all these times.
Your outer thighs go through a great workout while walking downhill during a hike. Some people try leaning backward while they walk downhill during a hike this results in pressure on the outer thighs. To add more, for safety try to walk on the declined surface slowly. If you have weak outer thigh muscles, you will feel a lot of pressure resulting in your hips getting injured.
Since you see how important role your thigh plays during hiking, you need to prepare them before setting out on an adventure. You can follow these two kinds of exercises that we let you know for preparing your inner and outer thighs.
- Side hops: Place two towels on the floor side by side but they should have a distance between them. The distance should be wide enough so that you can spread your legs and cannot reach the.
After setting up the towels accordingly you have to spread one leg first on a towel and then let your other leg follow by hopping. Do this exercise as many times as you can.
- Side squat: Just like what we mentioned for doing side hops you need to do everything the same way except one thing. While you spread your one leg on a towel and make your other leg follow, you need to do squat instead of hopping.
Warning: Make sure that you don’t lift any sort of weight while following these exercises. This can result in injuries to be caused to your ankles and knees.
To sum up, after you reached the end of this entire guide you surely understood that why is hiking such a complete lower body workout. You will be working out regularly for the sake of preparing your body for going on an adventurous hike. What can be a better purpose and will for working out other than this?
We all know that we all stop going to the gym after a few weeks because of losing motivation. But the thought of going hiking keeps you motivated and working out for preparing your body for a great day exploring nature with your friends.
Pavel is a true outdoor enthusiast with a passion for nature and a love for the great outdoors. He started Outdoor Fun Mag to introduce people from all walks of life to everything the outdoors has to offer and hopes that you’ll find something that excites you every time you stop by.
When not exploring nature Pavel works as an Electronics Engineer — a job that gets him thinking and makes sure he pays attention to all those fine details. This means that when he leaves work for the week, there’s no better contrast than the calmness and serenity of the natural world. By giving Pavel the chance to switch off and relax, his time spent camping and hiking allows him to feel refreshed.
In the future, Pavel plans to explore new areas and corners of the world with nothing more than a backpack and a tent. It’s an authentic way of seeing new places that allow him to de-stress and enjoy life, and he wants you to make the most of your life too.