Posted by: jakinnan | May 15, 2012

Prime Your Heart

Prime Your Heart To get the proper aerobic conditioning for a 5-mile hike, walk 30 to 45 minutes, 3 days a week, varying the incline. On a fourth day, do a longer walk, preferably outside on hilly terrain. Each week, increase the long walk until you’re doing at least two-thirds of the distance of your first hike (about 31/2 miles if you’ll be hiking 5 miles).

Prep Your Muscles You’ll need to build balance, flexibility, and strength in your leg and back muscles to tackle hills. And it helps to condition your back and shoulders if you’re going to carry a pack. For each of the first four exercises, do one to three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, 2 or 3 days a week:

  One-Leg Squats (targets front and back of thighs and butt). With your left hand on a wall, balance on your left leg, bending your right leg behind you. Maintaining an upright posture, lower your body toward the floor by bending your left knee. Keep an eye on your left foot, and stop bending before your knee extends beyond your toes. Hold, then slowly stand back up. Repeat with the other leg. Advanced: Extend the free leg in front.

  Step-Ups/Step-Downs (targets front and back of thighs, butt, and calves). Place your left foot on an 8 to 12″ high aerobic step, then step up with your right foot. Next, step down in front of the step with your left and then your right foot. Turn to face the step and repeat, beginning with your right foot. If this is too easy, you can hold dumbbells at your sides (If you don’t have an aerobic step, slowly walk up and down stairs).

  Shrugs (targets shoulders and upper back). Holding dumbbells at your sides, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Without moving your arms, lift your shoulders toward your ears. Hold, then slowly lower.

  Back Extensions (targets the lower back). Lie facedown with your arms folded and your hands under your chin. Keeping your feet and hips on the floor, lift your chin and chest about 3 to 5 inches. Hold, then slowly lower.

  Figure-4 Stretch (targets the back of thighs, butt, and back). Sitting on the floor, extend your right leg in front of you. Bend your left knee, and rest the sole of your left foot against your right inner thigh. Lean forward, reaching toward your right ankle (Keep your back straight for more of a leg stretch; round your back for more of a back stretch). Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Do one to three stretches on each side.
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