I hear it all the time: "I don't have time to spend hours in the gym to get ready for a hike."
If that sounds like you, try these 7 ways to train for hiking without working out:
Increase your daily step count - There are simple ways to do this, like parking further away from the door or taking a walk during your lunch break. Got a conference call? Put those earbuds in and walk a lap around your office building or pace the halls. Increasing steps in small ways throughout the day will result in big changes in your overall fitness. If you're working at home, take a break to walk around the block several times per day. Aim to take 10,000 steps each day!
Stand while you're working - If you want to hike for several hours, you need to be used to spending that much time on your feet. Using a standing desk helps meet your goal. Standing on a thin piece of foam requires you to shift your weight, use core stability, and work on the balance reactions that help you on the uneven trail.
Take the stairs - You know that basket at the bottom of your basement stairs of things to carry up? Try carrying the items one at a time. It will take you an extra three to five minutes, but you can climb 10 to 20 flights of stairs in that short amount of time . Wherever and whenever you have access to stairs, you should use them! If you have them at work, start and end your day climbing the stairs. When you need to use the restroom, go to the next floor to use theirs. You'll build leg strength and improve your fitness.
Carry heavy stuff - The farmer's carry and the suitcase carry are two underutilized upper body exercises that you can easily incorporate into everyday life. If going for an evening walk, fill a tote bag with books or rocks and carry it around the block using the handle in your hand (not over the shoulder). Switch off hands every 20 feet or take one in each hand for a farmer's carry.
Use a clothesline - It may sound strange, but wet clothes are heavy. Hanging them to dry helps maintain the integrity of some fabrics, but more importantly, it builds upper body and core strength. Squat to pick up the clothes out of the basket, and you're strengthening the lower body too!
Pull some weeds - Spend five minutes each day squatting to pull weeds. Squatting then standing instead of bending over builds glute strength and stability.
Have some fun - Throw a frisbee, kick a soccer ball, or ride a bike. All of these activities will get you moving and improve your overall fitness and endurance. You'll be having so much fun you won't think of it as exercise.