Hiking for fitness
As a continuation of my last fitness post, I wanted to share my new hobby - hiking!
I’ve never been one for walking in the hills (for longer than an hour from a cake shop to a pub).
However, recently I decided to equip myself appropriately and go forth to the Peak District in the UK.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how much of a workout that I got!
Admittedly, I only climbed small mountains (hills?) like Thorpe Cloud in Dovedale but it was a good starting point. Next - stop Mount Snowdon in May.
If you are a keen walker, check out the top 10 hiking trails in the Peak District:
1. The Ridge Walk - Mam Tor to Losehill (I'm doing that in June).
2. Kinder Scout.
3. The Monsal Trail.
4. Longshaw Estate.
5. Black Rocks.
6. Peak Pilgrimage.
7. Goyt Valley.
8. Peak Hidden Trails.
9. Birchover and Stanton Moor.
10. Sheffield Round Walk.
Going further afield, here are the top 15 mountains in the UK that you could attempt but make sure you are fit enough to take on the challenge:
1. Ben Nevis, Lockaber, Scotland.
2. Snowdon, Snowdonia, Wales.
3. Scafell Pike, Lake District, England.
4. Tryfan, Snowdonia, Wales.
5. Slieve Donard, County Down, Northern Ireland.
6. Helvellyn, Lake District, England.
7. Ben Madui, Cairngorns, Scotland.
8. Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons, Wales.
9. Great Gable, Lake District, England.
10. Buachaille, Etire Mor, Highlands, Scotland.
11. Cadair Idris, Gwynedd, Wales.
12. Pen y Chent, Yorkshire Dales, England.
13. Schiehallion, Perth & Kincross, Scotland.
14. Cat Bells, Lake District, England.
15. Ben Lomond, Loch Lomand & Trossachs, Scotland.
If you are a bit of a hiking rookie like me, here are some tips to make your walking and climbing safe and fun:
**Visit the Mountain Safety website: http://www.mountainsafety.co.uk/
**Make sure you are well equipped with appropriate footwear and clothing
**Take water and snacks to have on your journey - keep hydrated
**Don’t forget your waterproofs!
**Put your maps in a waterproof folder or cover
**Carry a first aid kit
**Check the weather forecast
**Remember the weather at the bottom of a mountain can be very different to the weather on the top
**Think about timing, you don’t want to be coming down the mountain in the dark
**Hiking is a great social hobby, go with other people but if you do want to do on your own, make sure people are aware of where you are hiking and that your mobile phone is fully charged
I class myself as fit but I have to say after a day of hiking, I was aching and the next day, walking downstairs was a bit uncomfortable. I’m going to confess that I did have one stumble and ended flat on my back and the side of me was caked in mud.
This is what I learnt on my first day hiking:
**I was wearing layers and was fine to start with but the wind picked up a bit and I had to stop and put on my hat and gloves which I didn’t think I would need. Then, when I got to the top of the hill, I got really hot so off they came - now I understand by I should take lots of different items of clothing to myself options.
**Don’t look ahead and keep talking whilst walking on wet unstable ground or you are likely to stumble! Yes, I did that!
**Take some tea, coffee or soup in a flask just in case you get cold when you stop for a rest, don't forget a tissue for runny noses!
**It’s an ideal time to let yourself have a sweet treat, a nice chocolate bar or a scrummy cake:)
**It’s a good idea to stretch when you finish a long walk.
**Look out for a decent pub for a drink after a long day!! Or be sensible and drink a litre of water, followed by a pint.
I read about and heard the phrase ‘fell fit’ and I now know what it means and that is what I will aim for, to help achieve that I am going to adapt some of my sessions on the treadmill by creating a hill running program.
The best thing about hiking… truth be told, a lovely cold beer at the end of the day.
Spring isn't far away, start planning some great walks this year.