How to Start Hiking When Out of Shape

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To start hiking when out of shape, gradually increase your activity level and choose beginner-friendly trails. Now, let’s dive into how you can get started on your hiking journey even if you’re not in the best shape.

Hiking is a fantastic way to enjoy nature, get some exercise, and improve your overall well-being. However, for those who are out of shape, it can be daunting to take those first steps onto the trails. The good news is that with a little preparation and perseverance, anyone can start hiking and gradually build up their fitness level.

In this guide, we’ll share some practical tips and advice to help you get started on your hiking journey, no matter your fitness level. So, let’s lace up those hiking boots and hit the trail!

Preparing Your Mind And Body

How to Start Hiking When Out of Shape

Starting a hiking journey when you are out of shape requires both mental and physical preparation. It is important to understand the significance of mental preparation before embarking on this new challenge. Setting realistic goals is key in ensuring a positive mindset throughout the process.

Importance of mental preparation
Mental preparation plays a crucial role in overcoming self-doubt and building confidence. By visualizing yourself succeeding and staying motivated, you can overcome any mental hurdles that may arise.

One effective technique is to set realistic goals for yourself. Breaking down your hiking aspirations into manageable milestones allows you to track your progress and celebrate small victories along the way. By focusing on achievable targets, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.

Gradual Increase In Physical Activity

To start hiking when out of shape, it is important to gradually increase your physical activity levels. Incorporating daily brisk walks into your routine can help improve your stamina and cardiovascular fitness. Aim to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, gradually increasing the duration and pace as you become more comfortable.

Additionally, trying out low-intensity cardio exercises such as swimming or cycling can also help improve your fitness level without putting too much stress on your joints. These exercises provide a great way to build endurance and strength while being gentle on your body.

Remember, consistency is key. Start with small goals and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Listen to your body and take rest days when needed.

Choosing The Right Hiking Trail

When starting hiking, it is important to choose the right trail, especially if you are out of shape. Researching suitable beginner-friendly trails can help ensure an enjoyable hiking experience. When researching, consider the distance and elevation gain of the trails. Look for trails that are shorter in distance and have minimal elevation gain. These trails will be easier for beginners who are out of shape. Additionally, look for trails that are well-marked and well-maintained. These trails will have clear signage and a smooth trail surface, making it easier for beginners to navigate and hike comfortably.

How to Start Hiking When Out of Shape


Essential Gear And Equipment

To start hiking when out of shape, it’s crucial to have the right gear and equipment. When selecting hiking shoes, prioritize comfort. Look for options that provide proper arch support and cushioning. Test them out by wearing them for longer periods of time before hitting the trails.

Packing necessary items ensures safety and comfort. Make sure to bring a backpack that is spacious enough to carry essentials like food, water, a map, a compass, a first aid kit, and a whistle. Additionally, pack weather-appropriate clothing such as moisture-wicking shirts, long pants, a waterproof jacket, and extra socks.

It’s also important to bring sun protection such as sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. Don’t forget essential emergency items like a pocket knife, a headlamp, a fire starter, and a space blanket for warmth. Lastly, hydration is key, so carry a reusable water bottle or a hydration reservoir to stay hydrated throughout the hike.

Developing A Training Plan

To start hiking when you’re out of shape, it’s important to develop a training plan that includes a customized workout routine. This routine should incorporate both strength and endurance training to gradually build your fitness level.

Strength training exercises, such as squats, lunges, and push-ups, help build muscle strength and improve your overall stability. Including these exercises in your routine will not only make your hikes easier but also help prevent injuries.

For endurance training, start with low-intensity activities like walking or cycling and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time. This will improve your cardiovascular fitness, allowing you to hike for longer periods without feeling exhausted.

Creating a training plan specific to your fitness level and goals is essential. Listen to your body and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Remember to take rest days to allow your body to recover.

Enjoying The Hiking Experience

Starting a hiking journey when you are out of shape can be challenging but with the right approach, you can enjoy the experience to the fullest. To begin, it’s important to practice good hiking etiquette. This includes respecting the trail and nature, yielding to other hikers, and leaving no trace behind. Next, make sure you stay hydrated by carrying enough water and drinking regularly throughout the hike. Don’t forget to nourish your body with snacks that provide sustained energy such as trail mix, fruits, and protein bars.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Start Hiking When Out Of Shape

Faq 1: How Can I Start Hiking If I’m Out Of Shape?

Starting hiking when out of shape is all about taking baby steps and gradually increasing your endurance. Begin with short, easy trails and gradually push yourself to tackle longer and more challenging hikes. Listen to your body, stay hydrated, and take breaks when needed.

Remember, consistency is key!

Faq 2: What Should I Wear When Hiking If I’m Out Of Shape?

When hiking, it’s important to wear comfortable clothing that allows for freedom of movement. Choose moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics to keep you cool and dry. Invest in supportive footwear with good traction to prevent slips and falls. Don’t forget to wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.

Faq 3: How Can I Prepare Physically For Hiking If I’m Out Of Shape?

Preparing your body for hiking when out of shape involves incorporating regular exercise into your routine. Focus on building strength, endurance, and flexibility through activities such as brisk walking, cycling, and strength training exercises. Start with shorter workouts and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time.

Don’t forget to stretch before and after each session to prevent injuries.


After following these tips on how to start hiking when out of shape, you can embark on your hiking adventure with confidence. Remember to start slow, listen to your body, and gradually increase your distance and difficulty level. Stay hydrated, wear proper gear, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

With persistence and determination, you’ll soon find yourself getting fitter and stronger, all while enjoying the wonders of the great outdoors. So, lace up your hiking boots and start exploring!

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