Traveling to exotic places and experiencing the land has become more popular over the years. Seeing the wildlife and scenery in a new country requires one to be physically fit and ready for the demands. Most travel companies now require a health check to ensure travelers will not run into trouble when they are hiking, biking, canoeing kayaking or even surfing. Follow the steps below to prepare your body for an exotic trip of a lifetime.
Heart health – To ensure proper aerobic conditioning for hiking, walk at least 30-45 minutes 3 days per week on a varying incline. Pick another day to do a longer walk on hilly terrain. Keep increasing the duration and incline of the walk each week until you are walking a further distance than you will be hiking. The uneven and unknown terrain of a hike will always make it more difficult than at home so make sure you are over-prepared!
Build muscle – To ensure proper balance, flexibility and strength build muscle in your legs and back. Also find out if you will need to carry a backpack, and in that case work on muscle in the shoulders as well. Try the following exercises by doing 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions 2-3 days per week:
One leg squats: with your left hand on a wall, balance on your left leg, bending your right leg behind you. Maintain an upright posture, lower your body towards the floor by bending your left knee. Keep an eye on your left foot and stop bending before your knee extends beyond your toes. Hold, and then slowly stand back up. Repeat with the other leg.
Step-ups/step-downs: Place your left foot on an 8-12” high aerobic step, then step up with your right foot. Step down in front of the step with your left and then your right foot. Turn to face the step and repeat. If this is too easy, hold dumbbells at your sides. If you don’t have a step, simply use stairs.
Shrugs: Holding dumbbells at your sides stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Without moving your arms, lift your shoulders towards your ears. Hold, and then slowly lower your arms.
Back extensions: Lie facedown with your arms folded and your hands under your chin. Keeping your feet and hips on the floor, lift your chin and chest about 3-5 inches. Hold then slowly lower.
Choosing active activities is a great way to see the landscapes and wildlife of a new country. Although it may seem overwhelming to hike in a foreign land, you will feel an amazing sense of accomplishment once completing the journey!
BY SARAH BAMBER