Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Conditioning for the Hike

I meant to include this in an earlier post, but I simply didn't have any room to squeeze it in. One of my favorite forums is and a member recently provided a link to an excellent article from Washington Trails Association on how to condition for a hike of any reasonable distance or amount of time.

For me, conditioning for nearly anything has been an uphill battle. Twelve years ago, and no kidding on this one, I was a college athlete who worked out 3 hours a day. Running up to 8 miles and hitting the weights for another 1-2 hours and even playing basketball for another two hours was a completely normal activity for me - each DAY. Many days I didn't sweat and I pretty much ran everywhere, not to get there quickly, but because my body had this "get up and go" attitude. I ate right, lived clean, and there really was no physical obstacle I ever thought would get in my way. Twelve years later, now sporting a Type 1 diabetic body that apparently laid dorment since childhood, and now knee deep in the confines of work and family, I still work out 3-5 times a week for about 90 minutes each day. Unfortunately, I'm convinced my efforts would be equally rewarded if I just ate a jelly doughnut. NONE THE LESS, I keep trying and pushing as I enjoy working out and the gains I do get allow me one less hurdle to overcome down the road. It is also a good stress reliever.

Funny enough, "conditioning" of any kind is completely irrelevant to some people. We'll just call these people "genetically gifted people on my hate list". You know the kind, average to mildly tall, skinny, long-limbed, able to become a cross-country runner with the simple purchase of a pair of new running shoes, and able to chow down on a pizza with ice cream on top just before hitting the trail. Essentially, these are the same people who could save the world of its energy problems if we could only find a way to bottle their non-stop motor.

With that said, the conditioning guidance attached is for the rest of us, the "you and me's" of the world who need to watch their diet, who need to exercise, and who need to be proactive about maintaining a certain level of fitness for any fairly challenging activity.

The article can be found at (If for some reason the link doesn't work, let me know and I'll e-mail you the file.) Fortunately, it is very short and to the point because, let's face it, none of us needs to read a 90-page documentary by short-short aficionado Richard Simmons or see the "after" picture of a successful diet and exercise program when we know all too often we are the "before" picture.

Have fun breaking a sweat.

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