Hike Hacker

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Fitness for hiking: the basics

ShoeHiking is the best exercise for hikers. Walking on an uneven path with constant changes in grade and elevation work your leg and abdominal muscles in ways that won’t happen at the gym, no matter how you try. Two of the most popular exercise machines are unequal to the task:

  • Treadmill: Yeah, you’re walking upright, and you can turn up the angle to simulate hills, but with every step, the ground beneath you effectively gives way. Sure, the Earth moves, but not fast enough for your lower extremities to notice; hence, you don’t get the same exercise.
  • Stairmaster: Stepping-machines are more like walking in sand than on dirt, and they have the same problem as treadmills: they move in ways the planet does not.

Pretty much every other exercise device has similar limitations. They’re fine for working your heart and large muscle groups, but you can work in the gym like a fiend and still find yourself winded on the trail, stepping aside for veteran hikers twice your age.

So what if there aren’t any trails nearby for your daily workouts. What then? A few ideas: Read the rest of this entry »

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Tom posted at 7:29 am August 19th, 2008