“Let your fitness levels choose your destination”
The way you plan your tour will largely depend on your physical fitness and your overall state of health. If you are new to this, consulting a sports physician before you set out is highly recommended. If you hike regularly or go on long walks, you should have a solid level of fitness anyway. If this is not the case, your body will need a “nudge” during the preparation phase, i.e. a longer hike two to three times a week. Descent and ascent require good fitness levels. Cycling, running and Nordic Walking are all excellent ways of improving your fitness. Ideally, you should work out for at least 30 minutes, several times a week.
A little strength training is also a good idea. This will build up muscle strength and prevent aching muscles and back pain when walking downhill. Strength training once or twice a week can also prevent injuries.
Because hiking across uneven paths requires good coordination and balance, regular balance training is highly recommended. Standing on one leg, brushing your teeth with your eyes closed, starting with the other leg when putting your trousers on... These are all good ways of improving your sense of balance.
Stretching exercises complement our physical fitness and will keep you being able to tie your shoelaces when bending over! Every minute you invest in preparing for your hike is beneficial for you and your body. The right prep work is crucial for ensuring that hiking makes you happy and also opens up a wealth of hiking destinations.
When you set out, walk slowly and at a steady pace for the first 30 to 40 minutes. This helps your body find its rhythm and keep going, without overexerting itself right at the start.
“Every hike starts with planning”
Preparing for your hike in plenty of time prevents unpleasant surprises and ensures that you don’t miss out on any scenic spots along the way. Consult hiking maps, hiking guidebooks, local experts (hiking hotels and mountain guides) and the Internet. Choose your tour carefully and in line with your physical fitness levels. The length, walking time, altitude difference and terrain must reflect your own fitness and that of your hiking companions.
As a rule of thumb, expect to cover the following distances in the times given:
- 1 hour: walking uphill over a distance of 300 metres
- 3 km on level terrain, 1/3 less for walking downhill
- Add another quarter as your personal buffer and you will reach your destination stress-free!