Spring has sprung and it's about time! It was a long winter and it is easy to start feeling a bit stir crazy when your outdoor activities are limited. With the warming of the weather, it's time to start planning those backpacking trips and getting ready for those wilderness climbs.
During the winter months it is normal for us to slack on exercise in favor of snuggling up with a blanket by the fire. Nothing wrong with snuggling or blankets or fires, however when spring rolls around, it can be quite the rude awakening to realize that all of that winter snoozing left you feeling weak, out of breath, and totally unprepared for a long trek. When it's time to load up your pack and head out into the backcountry, you want to be ready.
Here are a few ways to jump-start your spring and get back into the swing of things, physically:
1. Make a list. Write down your goals [i.e. hikes you want to do, backpacking trips you have planned, climbs you want to try, a beachy vacation that you want to get in shape for...]. That way you can see everything laid out before you. If that isn't motivation to whip your butt into gear, I don't know what is.
2. Create a routine. Make a plan of when and where and how often you are going to exercise. If it's before work five times a week, then set your alarm a little earlier and go to bed a little sooner than you normally would the night before. Then, [and this is easier said than done,] stick to it. Routines take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to form, depending on who you ask. So when your alarm goes off at 5:30am or you get home from work at 7:00pm, don't give into the urge to "take the day off". Just do it.
3. Mix up your workout regimen. It's easy to get bored if you do the same work out every day. So, try picking a few different ways to exercise and rotate through them on various days of the week. When prepping for a backcountry adventure, it is important to not only get good cardiovascular exercise in, but also to build up strength and endurance. Try alternating between running, going on hikes, and yoga.
4. Find workouts that you love. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will be more likely to actually do it. All the good intentions in the world wont make you go out for a run if you absolutely hate running. If a spin class is more your thing, do it! If jump roping floats your boat, do that.
I love taking barre3 classes. They are fun and they really build up your strength and endurance - plus you get a great cardio work out, mixed with toning and stretching. Perfection!
And if hiking is the only form of "working out" that you can stand, go hiking more.
If crowded trails aren't your style, check out my post on "Why It's Good to Get Off the Trail" for some tips on how to find more remote places to hike.
5. Start now! It is not too early to start training for your backpacking trip this June. Start your new exercise routine, and make sure you strap on your loaded pack at every chance you get. Even just walking around your house with it on will build up your strength. You don't want the first time you put on your pack this year to be when you're heading out into the wild for three nights.
This is going to be a great year of outdoor exploration!
Let me know your favorite ways to get physically ready for adventure in the comments below!