Workouts to Hike Stronger

By Lisa Travis, Girls Who Hike Ohio Ambassador

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Let’s face it. As much as we would love to be out hiking every spare minute,
winter doesn’t always let that happen. Road closures, bad trail conditions,
bitter cold and busy schedules- it usually adds up to more cancelled hikes
than completed ones.

When you are able to go, it’s sometimes hard to jump right back in. Sore
ankles, calves that cramp, and those inclines just aren’t as easy on the lungs
as they were last fall. It’s important for your own health and safety that you
stay in hiking shape even out of season. This doesn’t mean you have to put in
hours at the gym! In this post, I’ll outline my go to workout at home, if I can’t
make it to the gym, or I don’t have the hour or two that I can devote to being

The most important aspect is cardio health. It IS possible to do cardio at
home, in the form of HIIT or interval training. Do at least 5 mins of cardio-
related exercises before start. If you have time for a longer workout, complete
this circuit 3 times. Again, modify to your own level! The key is to not stress
your body too much, we are trying to prevent injury!

Jog in place- 1 minute
Burpees- 30 seconds
Jumping Jacks- 1 minute
Jog in place - 1 minute
Plank Jacks -30 seconds
Jog in place - 1 minute

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The other important aspect of conditioning for hiking is building strength.
Whether you are planning day hikes or overnighters, keeping your legs and
back strong is important to prevent injury, and to be able to carry the weight
of your pack.

At Home Strength Exercises
(Pick at least 2 of the 3 boxes each day, and mix it up)

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Increase your numbers as you get stronger. Can’t make it through 40 squats?
That’s ok! Start where you feel comfortable! Maybe you can hold a plank for a
minute, great! Add 30 secs to your time! Need a better challenge? Buy a 5-7lb
dumbbell set (usually about $10) and incorporate that into your workout! The
great part is you can modify each exercise as you need to! Only have 15 mins?
Pick at least one of the boxes to do at any time, and include the 5 minute
cardio warm-up.

The best part about these exercises is you can do any part of it anywhere! At
the office, in your living room, at the playground.. Use your surroundings to
mix up the exercises. Be sure to know your limits, and listen to your body!

A good conditioning program keeps your body in ready-condition for hiking,
and helps you feel more secure and balanced on the trail!

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Lisa Travis is the Ambassador for our Ohio chapter. You can join her local meetups and discussions through the Ohio chapter by clicking here.