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Take a hike! Get walking fit this spring

Walking your way to fitness? Or planning a challenge hike this spring? Here are 10 tips to get you from sofa to summit with ace Devon walking guides, Peaks & Trails.

Pic credit: Peaks & Trails

Since lockdown, most have us have upped our walking game, but if you’re getting bored of a plod around your local park, spring’s a good time to take it the next level. Maybe even the Ten Tors…yikes!

Muddy is mates with Jon Barnett (above), head honcho at Peaks & Trails, who curates guided walks around Devon and the UK. He’s ex-army, super-fit and a trained mountain leader with over 15 years’ experience, who regularly leads locals and day-trippers on full-day and weekend-long guided walks, so he knows all the hiking hacks.

Here are Jon’s top 10 tips for getting hike-ready:

1/ Upping your game isn’t just about toning up and maybe shifting a few pounds beforehand, it’s a great confidence boost and you’re less likely to suffer an injury. You’ll also enjoy the views along the way much more if you’re feeling fit and not in pain!

2/ Yes, one way is simply to gradually increase how far you walk but that has drawbacks: it’s time-consuming for a start and if you start walking from a position of inactivity it’s a surefire way to get an injury.

3/ Far better to set yourself a program of hiking training, strength training and hiking-specific conditioning – a combination of points 4 – 10 below.

4/ Hiking training – start off with distances that you are sure you can comfortably complete, and build from there. Slow and steady always wins the race.

5/ Book yourself into a strength and conditioning beginner’s class at your local gym or village hall that offers a mix of both high repetition ‘endurance’ exercises and lower repetition ‘strength’ exercises with a gradual progression in your training over the weeks/months.

6/ You will also need to up your aerobic fitness, so make sure you’re also swimming, cycling, or doing an aerobics class every week.

7/ Try a loaded pack walk. Fill a backpack with a small amount of weight, pop it on your shoulders and go for a walk around the streets. Each week, add a little extra weight.

8/ Do hill repeats or incline treadmill walking at the gym. Find a relatively steep hill and climb to the top. Return to the bottom and repeat. Simples.

9/ Can’t afford the gym membership? Use the stairs (or a step machine). Climb up to the top and return to the bottom. Repeat.

10/ Sled pushing (put a small amount of weight on a sled in the gym and push it back and forth for a few minutes. Rest and repeat.

Fancy a hike with Peaks & Trails?

Check out Jon’s curated Devon walks from which you can select a day trip on a date of your choice – a great way to get to know the area with your own knowledgable and friendly tour guide. Too easy for ya? Stretch yourself with a Challenge Walk – you go, girl!

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