Ways to Hiking Fitness this Winter
Colder months are also a great time to mix it up by changing your workout routine and shoring up your weaknesses. Try these eight ideas to ratchet up your hiking fitness before spring.
Create a plan, or at least get a buddy
Whether it's mapping out exactly what you plan to do each week, or simply finding a friend that you can work out with regularly, a plan or buddy can help you stay accountable. If you aren't the planning type, it can be helpful to at least set monthly goals.
Take a class
Taking a class can be a good way to try something new, or get a different work out. Yoga and Pilates are great ways to stay limber and strong during the winter, and a spin class can help you build up cardiovascular endurance. Not just for those with dance experience, Pure Barre is a low impact, full-body workout that concentrates on tiny movements, alternating strength and stretching.
Join an indoor sports team
An indoor soccer, hockey, or basketball league can be a great way to keep up your cardio and fitness level in the winter without the grind of gym time. Some leagues require you to have a whole team organized, but others will assign you to a team if necessary.
This is probably one of the best ways to simulate hiking up a steep mountain trail, and will keep your cardio and your quads in shape. If you don't live near a city with a tall building, hit the stair stepper at the gym, or find a nearby mall with two levels.
Hiking puts a lot of strain on your lower body, but doesn't do much for your arms, chest, or back. Fill in the gaps in your routine this winter by finding an indoor lap pool. Start with just a lap or two, and then take a break for as long as you were swimming.
Jump on a trampoline
Jumping on a trampoline can improve your leg and ankle strength and your balance, all while tricking your brain into thinking you are just "having fun." A small, one-person trampoline (available online or in most sporting-goods stores) will fit in your living room. Set it up and bounce away while you watch Netflix.
Go rock climbing
Brush up this winter at an indoor climbing gym, or find some dry rock outdoors and wait for a sunny day. Besides being an intense and varied workout, there's a mental component to finding the best path up the wall that transfers over to trip planning and navigation.
Work on your weaknesses with a personal trainer
Don't let a quad strain or other weakness get you down during the season. Block out some time to rehab sore joints and muscles with a personal trainer over the winter.