3. Balance: find your centre
Because the ground is constantly changing when hiking, you’ll need not only steady footing, but also a lot of balance. If you work on your balance when you train for long-distance walking, you are guaranteed to hike more safely and reduce the risk of injury.
Forearm planks are a wonderful exercise to strengthen your core. Come into a push-up position and lower yourself onto your forearms. Hold as long as you can. Your legs, back and head are in line while your abs, glutes and back stay engaged.
Everyday tip: Stand on one leg while cooking, balance on a beam or try walking on a thin line. Watch your kids – they will show you how. Maybe you can even set up a slackline in the garden – give it a go!
4. Elasticity: prepare your joints, tendons and ligaments
If you had little exercise over the winter or are just starting your training for hiking, be patient and don’t be tempted to push too hard. Your joints, tendons and ligaments first have to get used to the new stress – and that needs time. Even if you are very motivated, it is better to take it slowly to avoid overly stressing your body, inflammation or even injuries.
Everyday tip: The proper shoes play a major role in relieving your joints, tendons and ligaments. Choose everyday shoes that fit well, or walk barefoot. Yoga also helps increase elasticity and balance.
5. Mental training: being at one with yourself
Hiking may not be not an extreme sport, but it can certainly push you to your limits. Distance plays a significant role in long-distance hiking. If you physically prepare for hiking and plan your route well, you can head out more confidently.
In addition to the distance, rocky terrain can also be a challenge. Although the Alpe-Adria Trail is not technically difficult, a certain amount of steady footing is required. The weather can also become a challenge when you’re long-distance hiking. Therefore, check forecasts in advance, keep an eye on the sky and follow the recommended rules of conduct if you encounter a storm.
Everyday tip: Get outside even in the rain and try to enjoy your time despite the weather – after all, the rule for long-distance hiking is: there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.