Holidays are a great way to develop your health and fitness while exploring with the wonders of nature with like-minded people. To get the most out of your walking holiday, it’s important to assess your current fitness level against the walking itinerary then develop a step-by-step programme to get in ‘walking shape’ so that you’re not left nursing aching muscles after the first day. To get fit for your walking holiday, just follow our tips!
When / what / where is your walking holiday?
The first stage is to read as much as you can about the walking holiday itinerary. Factors to consider include the tour’s duration, terrain, climate, time of year, whether you’re carrying a load, rest days, distances / length of each walk and the overall grade of the program. This will help you assess the level of fitness that you need for your holiday so do as much research as possible.
Where are you now in your walking & medical fitness?
Next, you need to honestly assess your current fitness levels to help decide how soon and how much you need to build up your training. Before you embark on any major changes to your exercise program, we highly recommend that you consult your medical practitioner so that you have the all clear. If you have a personal trainer, gym or physio, they may suggest the best program to suit your needs. Start your training as early as possible to give your body the maximum amount of time to develop aerobic fitness and strength.
FIVE KEY SUGGESTIONS FOR BUILDING YOUR WALKING FITNESS
Here are some ideas that we suggest for gradually building your walking fitness.
01Walk at least 30 minutes per day. By starting with this goal, you are building your fitness, getting active and making walking a part of your daily habit. Keep your walking at a very comfortable walking and talking pace to start with.
02Increase the length and intensity of your walks over time (eg: 10% more in distance and effort each week). Then consider longer walks - once a month, go for a half to full day walk around your local area or national park. As you journey gets closer, aim for once a fortnight then once a week. This will build your endurance stamina for enjoying half and full day walks if offered on your holiday.
03Get a walking buddy who can join you on the daily or weekly walks. The fact that you have someone else expecting you to be there, will motivate and commit you to your activity. Besides it’s more fun to walk with a friend! Why not join a local walking club – a tremendous way to meet energetic people and explore your local area.
04Once or twice a week, include some alternative aerobic and strength activities. Consider swimming, cycling, jogging or dance classes as extra aerobic training. Also look at building your strength and flexibility with yoga, pilates, cross-training at the gym or perhaps an online workout like 7-min.com. Also consider High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – via local gyms or with a personal trainer
05Ensure you have comfortable gear & equipment. Good quality walking shoes or boots will protect you from impact and injury. Also consider a quality backpack, plus lightweight, breathable clothes which can be added in layers. On all walks, you need to protect yourself from the elements, keep yourself well hydrated and ensure you have enough food to keep up the energy levels.