Hiking Is the Perfect Exercise to Build Strength in Your Legs to Enhance Running Performance
No matter where you live, there are runners on almost every street, which inspires even the most sedentary of us to explore the benefits of running. Unfortunately, too many people go out to the nearest shoe store to purchase a pair of athletic shoes and literally jump right in. This can be the biggest mistake anyone could possibly make! Those people we envy have spent a good deal of time preparing their bodies to handle the level of fitness running requires. Here are some pointers on how to prepare for this particular type of exercise so that it doesn’t cause more harm than good.
Begin Slowly by Conditioning the Body
The first thing to understand is that running is both a cardiovascular exercise as well as a perfect way to build strength and endurance. However, the body cannot easily go from ‘couch potato’ to athlete in one fell swoop. Build a bit of strength and endurance first with activities such as hiking. Not only does hiking begin to develop the muscles needed for running, but also it also slowly increases cardiovascular fitness. Running is an extreme form of aerobics but hiking is a gradual acceleration of building strength in the heart and increased flow of blood.
Vary Terrains and Length of Hikes
When you first begin hiking in preparation for running, it is essential to start slowly here as well. At the very beginning it is best to stay on pathways that are not extremely steep and find those which have an absence of rocks and other obstacles. When the terrain is level, walk at a brisk pace but as the slope increases, your speed should decrease proportionately. This will help to build strength and stamina in the legs and core of the body while also strengthening the heart for increased aerobic activity.
Even seasoned runners hike as part of their fitness regimen for these very reasons. Because it takes strength and agility on longer, steeper hikes, muscles are worked much harder. The one final piece of good advice to be aware of is that it is important to check with your doctor prior to changing your lifestyle habits. Some forms of exercise are too taxing for the heart and it should be determined that it is safe for you to increase cardiovascular activity to this extent. Even pro athletes have succumbed to heat and overexertion so take the precautionary steps prior to embarking on this form of exercise.