A great alternative for cross training can be found in an outdoor endeavor – in the woods, park, or a nature reserve. Hiking can bring a great fitness challenge and also offer time in nature – which can be very cleansing for the spirit. I enjoy adding hiking to my cross training regime at least a couple times per year.
The trick to having hiking become beneficial training experience is to make sure it is sufficiently challenging. My personal hiking experiences include numerous two hour to half day treks at Clear Creek Natural Area, which is approximately 1 hour from my home; full day hikes in locations such as the Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe, and Franklin Mountains; and multi-day hikes – such as the Italian Dolomites adventure. Each offer varying degrees of benefits: exercise, relaxation with beautiful scenery, rejuvenation and some even serve as great vacation options. (Aside: Roller Con participants – let me know if you’re interested in a side hike to the Grand Canyon. These are photos from 2 of my past hikes on the southern rim.) Regardless of duration (hours or days), I always wear my heart rate monitor during the hikes, so that I can ensure I’m moving at a fast enough achieve my calorie burn goal and higher heart rate. The tool is an enabler for pushing me to gain real benefits. It helps me see that on flat lands I need to move at a quick-step pace that is measurably faster than on hilly terrains. I try to average 130 bpm on a two hour hike. This will help me ensure I achieve at least 500 calories burned.
If you’re new to the sport of hiking, it is best to start out smaller scale. Here’s a gear list for a two hour hike.
• Shoes with appropriate grip (hiking boots our tennis shoes work fine)
• Hydration pack such as a camelback or water bottle
• Sunscreen/bug repellent
• Heart rate monitor
Try hiking and find yourself rejuvenated and ready to return to derby battle!