How Much Hiking Is Too Much?

How Much Hiking Is Too Much

If you’ve recently realized the exhilarating feeling hiking brings, then you might have already completely addicted to it.

And, in general, that’s a wonderful thing. However, if you haven’t been perfectly trained, excessive hiking can be injurious. But how much hiking is too much for you?

How Much Hiking Is Too Much?

The answer to such a question will obviously differ from one individual to the other.

However, there are some general rules of thumb all people can follow to generate a helpful plan for themselves and make sure they’re not overdoing it.

hiking too much signs

Hikers can cover a predetermined amount of distance each day depending on their physical conditioning, backpack load, and path elevation from beginning to end.

Relying on your weekly workout routine, you could perhaps hike from 3 to 15 miles per day.

Just before you get going with your hiking routine, and even more so when you have never hiked before, it is essential to start little by little and progressively increase the hours of hiking and the pace you are hiking with.

So, if you are a beginner in hiking and workout for 1-2 hours per week, then you should start by covering 3 miles in one day and slowly progress from that every week till you achieve covering 6 miles a day.

More skilled hikers who exercise 3-4 hours per week can cover distances that range from 9-12 miles per day, while the expert ones who tend to exercise at least one hour a day can go for 15 miles or more daily.

Each one of the above figures can vary based on your individual circumstances, but when you’ve been working out consistently every week for the same period of time, you should be capable of completing anything from 3 and 15 miles reasonably well.

However, once you start carrying heavily loaded backpacks and choosing trails with uphill grade levels, the distance covered will begin changing quickly and you might see yourself covering less distance again.

Still, with time, you will keep getting better even with these paths.

How Should I Exercise For Hiking?

It is important to note that those hours of exercise do not refer to some simple cardio sessions on a treadmill.

Muscle building is equally (if not more) important if you want to have a strong body that can support your mind in those challenging uphill paths during a 15-mile hike.

How Should I Exercise For Hiking?

Being flexible is also essential, so any flexibility and mobility sessions, even stretching at the beginning and end of your workout will help you a lot.

The same is true for balancing and stability exercises which can be combined with your strength sessions by doing some unilateral weighted or bodyweight exercises.

Another thing you can do is try to hike a minimum of 3 days per week to enhance the efficacy of your hiking.

We know that not everyone has the time to do it, but as with all sports and skills, the more you practice on them, the better you will become.

What Should My Pace Be When Hiking?

The speed you should maintain is determined by your muscle-strengthening condition and aerobic capacity. With a light backpack, several individuals can hike relatively quickly.

Complete novice hikers should keep a slow and consistent tempo and take frequent breaks. Skilled hikers can cover longer distances at an average speed.

How Much Hiking Is Too Much (1)

Still, they must remind themselves to stop for breaks too and place boundaries, so they don’t hurt themselves, become exhausted, or burn up when the sun is out, and their water intake is low.

Professional hikers ought to have a solid understanding of their hydration and break requirements.

They are typically the ones who will take a breather and realize that the distance covered is sometimes not the most important thing they ought to be aiming for.

It’s better to have fun on the hike and not to be concerned about reaching your final destination or constantly thinking about whether or not you’re hiking at a consistent pace.

This way, novice or not, you can take in the experience.

Reaching the high point may be an awesome feeling, but people who push themselves too far will convince you of how torturous it was during the days or weeks following their hiking trip and how much their bodies hurt because they didn’t take it slow.

Is There A Way To Tell How Much I Can Hike?

You can assess yourself to figure out the distance you could cover in a hike, but keep in mind that this will only be a guesstimate based on your aerobic activity and your legs’ muscular endurance.

Is There A Way To Tell How Much I Can Hike?

While you can hike a smaller distance and see how you did, if you prefer to test yourself at home, here is a way to do it.

If you are a recreational runner, you can assess your aerobic levels by running, or by engaging in another aerobic activity.

When you do that, you can see how much time you spent doing this activity before running out of breath.

For your leg strength, you can use a Stairmaster at the gym or walk up the stairs in your building. If you can go for longer than 5 minutes, start adding a 1-minute break after every 5 minutes are completed.

Keep track of your aerobic and leg strength and stamina results to evaluate how long you could hike. The formula you should use is:

(run mins + step minutes)/2*5 = how long you can hike in a day

Still, the time you can spend hiking obviously depends on your individual circumstances, so you can tell whether or not the result of this formula is realistic.

If you’re capable of running for 1 hour and walking up the stairs for 20 minutes, but the trail you will cover when hiking is primarily on level terrain, it might be better to simply take into consideration that 1 hour spent running and disregard the 20 minutes.

So, multiplying 60 * by 5 would get you around 5 hours of physical activity, which would probably account for 12-15 miles of daily hiking.

The Bottom Line

Even though most people might consider hiking to be a fun way to pass the time on a weekend and not see it as a sport, the goals are essentially the same as the ones when undertaking any other type of exercise: to build strength, stamina, and your heart’s health.

So, to get the most out of hiking, create a plan that will make it easy for you to progressively increase the frequency and intensity of your hike.

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