With summer fast approaching, the lure of rocky terrains and spectacular views is becoming stronger, and many of us will soon be spending our weekends hiking and rambling through the glorious English countryside. But for some of us, the cold winter months may have taken their toll, and both our bodies and our outdoors equipment may require a little revamp before they are once again hike-ready. This is the Mountain Warehouse guide to preparing yourself for the hiking season!
If the only surfing you've done this winter is channel-related and you've succumbed one too many times to the lure of the biscuit tin, you may be in need of a little refurbish before you hit the hills. Winter eating habits and no exercise do not an outdoors Adonis make, so you'll need to get that heart rate pumping if you're going to enjoy your hiking experience this summer.
If you're a member of a gym, twice weekly weight training is probably ideal to get you back in shape for summer strolling. Remember that the muscles in your legs are just as important as those arm, chest and back muscles. Weight training can be just as effective as cardiovascular activity for getting you fighting fit and losing those winter pounds.
You should be doing cardiovascular exercise 2-3 times a week. This can be anything from running on the treadmill to getting outside in the fresh air, but do bear in mind that a fifteen minute stroll won't really cut it - for the exercise to really be increasing your stamina you need to move at quicker than normal pace.
Cut back on the calories, and eat good carbohydrates like pasta and porridge. These are slow releasing foods that will stop you munching on calorific snacks throughout the day. They are also great to eat before your exercise routine or previous to the hike itself, as they will give you energy but won't cause your energy levels to crash.
Equipment and hiking clothes
What was in perfect condition last year may not be in such good nick a year on; chances are you may have stashed your hiking gear once the weather turned and not used it in winter enough to notice any faults. Consider the following:
How are your hiking boots looking? Is the tread looking all in one piece, and have you got space laces? Cleaning and waterproofing is also important; do you need to re-proof your hiking boots? Our Wash 'N Proof might be of some help. If your hiking boots or walking shoes are looking worn down from heavy use, you might want to consider purchasing a new pair. Mountain Warehouse hiking boots and walking shoes range are all of the highest quality and could make your summer hike a walk in the park. If you're going to be purchasing new hiking boots, especially a rigid, hard wearing pair like the Atlas hiking boot or the Ascent hiking boots, make sure that you leave yourself plenty of time to wear them in before you use them on real terrain, as blisters are fun for nobody. Consider whether you'll need a walking shoe or a hiking boot; this will be determined by the conditions you'll be walking in and the kind of terrain you'll be dealing with. Our Volt Walking shoe is great for those less trying walks that still require a high quality piece of footwear.
You may need a new pair of hiking socks; check that the ones you used last season do not have holes in and are still suitable for use.
It might be summer, but showers are still a possibility. Make sure you've cleaned and re-proofed your old waterproof jacket with a product like our Wash and Proof, or, alternatively, you could purchase a new one; from our lightweight Pakka Jacket to our ever popular and highly versatile Storm 3 in 1 waterproof jacket, there's bound to be something to keep you warm and dry.
Consider some handy new products that you might not have thought of before; from hiking poles to zip off trousers, it's the little things that could give you a new lease of life when you're out on the hills this summer.