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Cross Training

The reality is most of us will not walk as much as prescribed. To combat this, cross train. By adding other forms of training, you certainly decrease the monotony of training and can strengthen your body in a few key areas to help prevent injuries.

Strength training is a great cross train and is recommended even if you walk the recommended amount. Strength training is usually accomplished with a weight program. Lighting lighter weights in set of 15 repetitions builds strength without bulk. A simple broad-based approach works. Perform a 3 set of 15 repetitions for the quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps, triceps, chest and shoulders. For those coordinated or under guidance, free weights are preferred for arm exercise over machines. When walking along a trail your body will not be sitting in a machine and guided through its paces. Free weights teach coordination as well as strengthening the ligaments, tendons, and smaller muscle groups required to balance the weight in your hand.

Most people are imbalanced. One leg or arm is stronger than the other. Ideally, symmetry of strength and range of motion is desired. By performing all exercises one at a arm/leg at a time, starting with your weaker limb first, you can work on closing the gap. Only perform as many repetitions with the stronger limb as you perform with your weaker limb. This prevents the imbalance from growing.

Training the Core

When it comes to the trek, a strong back goes a long way. Cursed by too much time strapped to a desk, many of us start a trek with back problems. These certainly do not go away with 40 or so pounds strapped to our back. The key is strengthening our stomach muscles as well as the surround muscle groups known as the core.

There are thousands exercises that strengthen your core. Here we demonstrate a few mainstream ones. However, the key to a truly strong core is to vary the exercises performed over time. Perform 3-4 core-strengthening exercises every other day for a month and then vary the exercises so that you build strength in a slightly different manner. Again performing a large number of repetitions in three sets is good practice.