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#150019 - 05/07/11 11:19 PM exercise?
freebern thomas Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 3
heres my stats: 41 years old 5foot 10 inches about 230-240 lbs i keep telling my wife i am in shape round is a shape but i digress my question is does anyone condition themselve by just walking everyday but with their pack on ? i can walk miles i do it in the woods every fall but i am only carrying a gun and a fanny pack. i dont want to start this season by crapping out on my first adventure any ideas

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#150025 - 05/08/11 12:28 AM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Walking is good- the more (within limits) the better. Do as many short, one day trips as you can, and progress to lengthier excursions.

I personally like to work in bike rides as well. This can include running errands and commuting to work whenever possible.

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#150036 - 05/08/11 10:35 AM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I've seen very fit and able people struggle on trail (I run a hiking group). Part of the issue is elevation, sometimes, and just the endurance and conditioning of the body to the stressors it's subjected to. Your feet are getting long periods of friction and extra weight of the pack put on them, your joints too, and your lungs aren't yet ready for sustained uphill climbing.

Hiking is about the best thing to prepare you - put on a pack and hike, short distances at first, increasing as you gain stamina. I can do a 15 mile day - I'm not going to go 4 mph, but I can plod forever without stopping, without pain and suffering after the trip. The goal is to hike at a pace you can sustain. Plan breaks at regular intervals for food and water tho. The other key - learning how much more water you need and to snack more. Drinking enough water during the day for the level of activity you are putting forth will help reduce post trip soreness.

Find a hiking group and go with them regularly. That'll help a lot.
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#150071 - 05/08/11 09:12 PM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
Altitude and elevation gain/loss are really what will get to you. If you plan to BP in areas that have those traits then it's just like any exercise program - slowly work up your endurance. As Lori said, the key is finding your pace and sticking with it.

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#150077 - 05/08/11 09:51 PM Re: exercise? [Re: topshot]
freebern thomas Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 3

Thanks for all the advice everyone I will start walking more with my pack

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#150079 - 05/08/11 11:03 PM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
Doorknob Offline


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 8
Loc: Hawaii
If you live near a High School, wear you backpack loaded with some weight and go up and down the football stadium stairs.

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#150094 - 05/09/11 11:59 AM Re: exercise? [Re: Doorknob]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
I have never carried a full pack if not needed! The pack puts extra stress on my joints and at my age, I do not need this. The best exercise is one that is fun and that you will actually do everyday. Best is to walk uphills if you have some nearby hills. Since I live in a fairly flat area, I alternate a long walk (6 miles) loop along the American River and bicycling 20 miles on the bike trail. The scenery is wonderful. Hauling a pack up and down stadium stairs sounds miserable to me.

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#150109 - 05/09/11 03:40 PM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
OldScout Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 501
Loc: Puget Sound, Washington
I practice with my backpack for another reason other than conditioning. I have recently purchased a used backpack from MillerGear on this website and I want to make sure everything is adjusted right and address any rubbing spots now. A "dry run" so to speak. Just as you wouldn't want to start a new long hike with new shoes, you wouldn't want to start a new long hike with a new backpack (or other equipment for that matter.)

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#150117 - 05/09/11 05:51 PM Re: exercise? [Re: OldScout]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
I started off last summer on a 34-day trip (Roper's High Sierra Route) with a new pack never worn and new shoes, never worn. It worked out just fine. I did put all my gear in my pack at home to be sure it fit, put it on once, and decided it was more comfortable than any of my other packs. To be fair, the shoes were same brand as the old ones that wore out. I do a lot of research before I buy gear so seldom have any surprises.

My concern for the question posted, was that if you are carrying extra body weight to begin with, I would not add more weight of a backpack for "training". Just walk first, or else you can put too much stress on knees until you strengthen them.

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#150118 - 05/09/11 06:07 PM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Especially if you would like to build up knee strength, I would suggest (I am so predictable!) that you work in some cycling. A stationary bike would be perfect if you have one available.

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#150134 - 05/10/11 11:42 AM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3886
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Again, I have to second what W_D has mentioned, that is, for conditioning, you really don't need to carry your fully loaded pack, and I also agree that there isn't a really good reason to do that. Sure, you want the pack loaded, fitted, and tested before you head out, but you don't need to carry it several times for several miles just to test that out.

Walking, I think, is the best conditioning you can do for backpacking. Walking up and down hills is especially good. I'm lucky in that regard because I can hike in my backyard and get some pretty good climbs in a short distance. For me, biking isn't a good option. We don't even have a shoulder on our paved roads here, and the mountain biking trails are lined with shards of sharp edged chert, so I don't bike anymore.

If you'll be hiking where there are lots of hills I'd also suggest you do some conditioning on trails if you can. Walking on trails will help get your ankles in better condition that walking on pavement.

For me, the ankles are among the first parts to complain if I'm carrying a pack when I'm not in good condition. This never happens if I do a few miles a few times on our rocky, hilly, trails here before I backpack.

And I'll point out that I don't think you need months to get in good enough condition for a 20 mile backpacking trip either. If you get out and walk a few miles a day 2-3 times a week, you'd likely be ready in 4-6 weeks, at most, to do a 4-8 mile hike with your pack, each day for 2-5 days, without busting yourself up.

The main thing is to include flexibility in your trip plan. Don't plan on doing a lot of miles, or even making it to a specific destination. Instead, plan on stopping to rest whenever when you get sore or fatigued. Plan on setting up camp at a certain time of day instead of a certain place. And plan on making the trip enjoyable, as opposed to an endurance test.

If you plan as mentioned above, you might well find you can easily do 10-15 miles in a day, and that you like it. Or, you might find you only did 2-4 miles in a day, and still liked it.

One thing is for sure, the more you walk, and the more you backpack, the further you can go. But that still doesn't mean you have to go far every time. Often times I find a spot early on and decide to stay there and explore it detail.

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#150156 - 05/10/11 08:36 PM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By freebern thomas
heres my stats: 41 years old 5foot 10 inches about 230-240 lbs i keep telling my wife i am in shape round is a shape but i digress my question is does anyone condition themselve by just walking everyday but with their pack on ? i can walk miles i do it in the woods every fall but i am only carrying a gun and a fanny pack. i dont want to start this season by crapping out on my first adventure any ideas


Yes, but I typically just walk.

Having said that, 5-8pounds of daypack field gear and lunch, coupled with 7 pounds of rifle and scope generally is about the same as my fully loaded weight for 3 -5 days out, when not carrying the rifle..


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#150193 - 05/11/11 10:19 PM Re: exercise? [Re: phat]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
I agree with Bill, I walk. I do take a few 5 milers at the local state park.I typically do this a month or two leading up to a backpacking trip. I do spend allot of time Hunting Coyote on foot in the winter as well. So far , :Knock On Wood: I have done just fine with 7 to 8 mile days right out of the gate!
I do have to stress this years trip was much more enjoyable. I attribute this fact to the advice of many good people on this fourum, hence lightning my load almost ten pounds? I think now I need to lighten the food load. I am finding I take too much? Happy Trails

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#150199 - 05/12/11 09:32 AM Re: exercise? [Re: Kent W]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1726
Loc: Napa, CA
I'm the odd man out here. I cycle (road bike) and love it. It also really helps on long-term endurance...and if you try to ride bike uphill, you get an instant incentive to lose weight.

Having said all that, losing weight is a simply proposition. Decrease your calories, increase your exercise. And walking every once in a while won't make that much difference. Walk (or bike) at a good pace for two hours every day...and reduce your calories...and you will be amazed.

No snacks, no "rewards" for having worked hard!

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balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#150208 - 05/12/11 01:01 PM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Although everybody who has commented here has valid points, I think balzaccom makes the most important connections. Get in 2hr of good, hard aerobic exercise every day (I'll say 5 days a week minimum), and cut back on calories. It will be a bit of a fight at first (from personal experience), but there is a HUGE list of benefits including being in better shape. The good and hard part is relative of course and one needs to build on a foundation. Right now I typically do 6 to 8 miles a day (1.5 to 2hrs) with 12 pounds on my back and it took me a year to build up to it.

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#150215 - 05/12/11 01:54 PM Re: exercise? [Re: skcreidc]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I just did the math - I have about 3 hours a work day left over. That doesn't include house cleaning, eating dinner, making dinner, taking care of the felines, lawn care, etc. Who the heck has *time* for two hours of good, hard aerobic exercise a day?! I sneak in 30 minutes of eliptical a work day and hiking one day on the weekend (try for 8 miles), though with building of the house this summer, that will go by the way-side.

Not attacking, I just laughed when I saw the comment. My first reaction was to look at the gender of who made the comment wink Though I know that housework isn't gender based, it just seems that way to most of us gals... (My husband cooks dinner btw.)

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#150217 - 05/12/11 02:02 PM Re: exercise? [Re: balzaccom]
Pika Online   content
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1733
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Quote:
I'm the odd man out here. I cycle (road bike) and love it. It also really helps on long-term endurance...and if you try to ride bike uphill, you get an instant incentive to lose weight.

I too rely on cycling to maintain an aerobic base. I don't cycle as much each day as you do but I get in about an hour a day, six days a week at 75% of my MHR. I also do a free weight routine 2-3 days per week and do an 8-10 mile, 2000-3000 foot climb in the local mountains once a week.

I still weigh about what I did when I got out of the army over 45 years ago. The composition of that weight may have changed a bit though. cry
_________________________
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#150224 - 05/12/11 03:16 PM Re: exercise? [Re: Pika]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6391
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I do a combination of "power walking," day hiking, stationary bike (primarily to strengthen lower body muscles without impacting joints) and a weight program involving many reps with relatively light weights (also to strengthen muscles without injuring joints). I also bought a cheap 2x4 which I walk several times daily to improve my balance. It helps!

For me, day hiking twice weekly is the best. Far less stress on the joints than power walking the local sidewalks (which I may have to give up), more uneven ground, more hills. It's also a lot more fun for both me and my dog! Of course, I realize that not everyone has Columbia River Gorge trails 20 minutes' drive from their house! Nor is everyone retired and able to get out on weekdays! You have to make do with what you have in the time you have. The important thing is to get out and move several times weekly!
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#150241 - 05/13/11 04:11 AM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
Ol Dirty Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/08/10
Posts: 8
Loc: Rockingham County; NC
Of course you should use a full pack to make sure you have the right fit for comfort, and certain items like shoes should be broken in, but I believe it's more important that you improve cardiorespiratory & muscular endurance to keep from getting sore & worn out on a hike than it is to practice by toating a full pack around.

I'm not an expert or as experienced of a backpacker as many others that have responded here.
I've spent the last nine months conditioning myself to be trail ready. I've only had time for day packing and I haven't traveled any more than 10 miles on foot in a day, but I typically do a 7 - 9 mile day trip twice a month now; however, I don't have to take much in my bag for these short day hikes.

I'm 5'11" & have maintained 140# throughout my training. My goal is to gain muscle mass and more importantly improve my cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance.
I started on my cardio by walking 1.5 miles 3 times a week, then I stepped up to jogging the same distance, and now I'm jogging 2.5 miles & running full speed for another 1/3rd mile 3 times a week. I do change it up by running down local nature trails for roughly the same distance, but he changes in elevation on these trails increases the difficulty & I cannot not always jog all the way.
For my muscular endurance I do simple things on a mat at home like sit-ups and push-ups, but I also do pull ups & chin ups.

These runs take me about 45mins, and I believe they have paid off. The day after my 7 to 9 mile day-hikes I am not sore, and usually I feel full of energy the day after a hike.
It's also worth mentioning that I hunt with hounds and I typically walk through the woods another couple of miles 5 or 6 nights a week when I'm coon hunting, but this is much more relaxed.

Anyway that's what I have to share from my own personal experience.

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#150245 - 05/13/11 10:51 AM Re: exercise? [Re: freebern thomas]
Cliff P Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 14
Loc: Iowa
Judging by your age/stature etc., I would guess walking is the best option. As a runner, I've found that the best way to build endurance/speed is not to do long runs over and over. I tried that for a few years and never got stronger/faster. I started doing intervals and hill repeats and I got stronger, faster, and more resilient.

Basic interval training is this: walk at a normal pace for 5 min (warmup), then go hard (walk fast!) for 2 mins, walk slow for 1 min, go hard for 2 mins, walk slow for 1 min, and repeat and repeat for 20-30 mins. Basically you are training your heart/lungs/muscles to go at a hard pace. You could probably find some plans doing a google search. Like I said, this has done wonders to my running abilities.

Then, I would mix in some hill repeats. Walk up hill as fast as you can, walk down slow, repeat, repeat. Again, you are training your body to work harder than it normally would.

If you just walk the same speed over and over, your body gets used to that and won’t “improve” as there is no reason/incentive to improve. The way to build muscle/strength/speed is to trick your body into thinking it needs to be stronger than it actually needs to be. Doing intervals will stress your muscles telling them they need to grow and get stronger. Regular walks tell your muscles that they are fine as is and not to expend the energy to grow.

Hope this helps!

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#150247 - 05/13/11 11:31 AM Re: exercise? [Re: Cliff P]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
Heather- housecleaning, yardwork, building a house? You will not need "exercise" after all that work! I think we forget that ordinary daily tasks also keep us in shape. Sitting all day is what gets you out of shape. And childcare- never was in as good shape as running after and carrying around two toddlers all day.

When I had physically demanding jobs, I did not need to exercise. When I had desk jobs, I did workout, 3-4 times a week, 1-2 hours each time. My favorite "work-out" was the climbing gym. It was so much fun it was hard to stop. I think you have to find some activity that is so much fun that you cannot wait to do it. Then it becomes a life-long - live style that effortlessly keeps you in shape.


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#150264 - 05/13/11 05:17 PM Re: exercise? [Re: wandering_daisy]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
In other words, you should get on your bicycle and ride to the climbing area.

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#150266 - 05/13/11 07:32 PM Re: exercise? [Re: oldranger]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2745
Loc: California
I only wish that bicycling were as fun to me as climbing! I am not a natural on a bike. It has taken me four years to feel comfortable enough to average 12 mph and not apply my breaks at every downhill. I am beginning to actually have fun and peddel to go faster down hills. Two hours is all my body can tolerate. Feet and butt limit me. Funny thing is that the bicycle hurts my Morton's neuroma more than walking. And I will never get used to the sore butt. My poor husband has changed my bike seat numerous times to no avail.

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