As the snow melts and the sun rises, Vancouverites don hiking boots instead of ski boots and conquer Vancouver’s mountains by foot. Hiking is an ever-growing summer activity to locals and visitors alike looking for a good workout and an even better view. For beginner hikers, however, a trail’s steps, climbs, and rugged terrain are no easy feat. Whether it’s the Grouse Grind, the Chief, Dog Mountain, Quarry Rock, or any other one of Vancouver’s beautiful trails, we’ve put together five tips to prepare for those summer hikes so that you can make it to that view!
5 Hiking Tips
1) Before conquering “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” hop on a gym’s Stairmaster, or hit some stairs outside! The Stairmaster can mimic the climbs seen on most steep trails while minimizing the impact on your joints. Once you are used to the machine, try increasing the intensity of the exercise by letting go of the rails!
2) Step up your cardiovascular fitness with some interval training! Either on the treadmill or outside, alternate between high-intensity (run) and lower intensity speeds (slow jog). If you’re on a treadmill, try to bump up the incline starting at level 1 to better mimic running outside.
3) When shifting weight from rock to rock, stability is a must! By increasing core strength, balance is improved! The major player in core strength is the transverse abdominis muscle. This muscle plays a key role in spinal stability and by working it, the risk of lower back pain can be decreased. Try planks, glute bridges, and dead bugs to work the transverse abdominis, and make sure the muscle is engaged by pulling your belly button in toward your spine!
4) One may not think that flexibility is important for a hike, but with steep stairs, some stretches beforehand could go a long way. Try some dynamic stretches (those that involve moving instead of standing still) before you hit the trail to warm up your muscles like toe touches, butt kicks, high knees, and arm circles.
5) Often the biggest thing holding people back from physical challenges like a hike they haven’t done before is a lack of confidence in their abilities. If you’re feeling nervous, mental exercises to get you motivated and feeling ready to take on whatever this hike throws at you. Try repeating an inspiring message in your head like to get you going or keep you going when you get tired, challenge your inner critic!
What do you do to feel prepared for hike? Let us know in the comments!
Written by Mika Fogelman– Client Care Manager
Mika is passionate about helping others in any way she can. Having danced since she was five years old, she discovered excitement for fitness through teaching Zumba dance fitness classes, and loves to help others develop their confidence through exercise.