How to prepare for the InKa Trail after 50’s

11/03/2021 8:32 pm

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The stereotypical hiker–a 20-something person, with a moderate level of outdoor experience, physical fitness and a sports-like demeanor.

Reality, however, shows the hiking community to vary widely in age, occupation, experience and fitness levels. People in the backcountry fit no other criteria than a desire to be outdoors. For many reasons more and more people find themselves wanting to spend time in the woods–to see the views, to be healthier, to see wildlife, to have an adventure…The thru-hiking community is just a small subset of this larger group. Every year the people you find out here will surprise you, particularly in age. Amidst the 20 and 30-somethings there are many in their 50’s and 60’s, that some would say are too old to attempt the Inka Trail hike.

Is for this reason that we thought these tips can help you to get ready for a great Adventure in the inca trail.

1.-Time to prepare.

In general to get ready for a hike in high altitude like the inka trail can take between three weeks and three months for your body to see a significant improvement in your fitness level and to respond to a change in routine. So if you’ve already booked your trip, better start now!

2.-Focus on leg strength.

Strength training is generally a good idea for athletes of all ages, but for hikers, leg strength is essential for an enjoyable experience. After all, it’s the legs that do most of the work.

Jumps, squats, and calf raises are all good exercises you can do at home. Try slowly getting up and down a step or exercise platform, gradually increasing the height as you progress.

3.-Focus on your cardiovascular fitness.

At least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week is recommended for people over 50 with sessions of at least 30 minutes each time. The best aerobic activities for mature athletes are swimming, cycling, brisk walking, or jogging.

Even if you can’t get outside or hit the gym, there are plenty of great cardio exercises you can do at home to get your heart pumping. Jumping jacks, half scissors, squats, leg lifts, hops, and even table jumps are great bodyweight exercises that don’t require any special equipment or skills.

If you are embarking on a hiking adventure, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is particularly beneficial because it improves both aerobic and anaerobic fitness and prepares your body for the bursts of strength you will need on your climb.

HIIT sounds more complicated than it actually is – it’s simply adding a short period of more intense exertion to your daily routine of walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling. For example, if you take a brisk 45-minute walk, try jogging for 30 to 60 seconds every 5 to 10 minutes of your walk. The same if you swim or ride a bike – add a few sprints during your regular routine.

A note of caution for mountain adventurers: Even if you are in good shape, it is important that you do not overexert yourself at heights. Effort is a key factor in altitude sickness.

4.-Stay balanced.

This sounds too simple to mention, but a few minutes spent improving your balance can prevent injury on your ride and give you more stability when climbing. Walking from heel to heel with your arms extended to your sides and your eyes looking straight ahead is an easy and effective balance exercise. The same goes for standing on one foot for 30-60 seconds at a time (longer if you can) before switching to the other foot.

5.-Don’t neglect your core.

Core muscles are the abdominal muscles, the back muscles, and the pelvic muscles, and they give you balance and flexibility, and are the foundation of almost every other physical activity you will do on an active adventure.

Sit-ups, bridges, and planks are some of the best exercises for building a strong core. You can fine-tune your core by sitting on an exercise ball while reading or watching TV at night.

6.-Don’t forget the practice walks.

Now is the time to put all of those exercises to work for you with a few practice walks. Look for places with variable terrain and elevation so you can feel how your body responds to stresses – and areas where you may want to improve.

Remember to wear your backpack and throw away some bottles of water, adding more as you progress, so that you get used to handling your body with a weighted backpack.

Practice walks are essential for one extremely important reason: You’ll get a chance to break your boots – or buy a new pair if the ones you don’t have hold you up properly. There’s nothing worse than hitting the trail in a painful, ill-fitting pair of boots.

7.-Mental preparation is very important to.

Fear is the enemy when it comes to trying something new. Combat it with physical preparation, knowing that you are doing positive things to prepare your body for the journey.

Focus on the “why”, the personal benefit you hope to gain from completing an adventure. Keep that benefit in mind when you feel discouraged, both in your preparations and on the road.

Finally, visualize success. Do not be afraid of a little doubt, it happens to all of us, even the most preparated.

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