ALPINE SPEED HIKING – A FULL-BODY WORKOUT
Ever heard of speed hiking? No? Then this post is for you. Here we will tell you what this outdoor activity is all about and why it could be the right thing for you.
Speed hiking, sometimes also called fastpacking, is the perfect activity for those who want to enjoy the outdoors while working out. It has become increasingly popular over the last few years because speed hiking can also be used as an alternative to many winter sports like cross-country skiing and ski touring in the snow-free seasons as well as a condition training for many other sports.
WHAT IS SPEED HIKING?
The name says it all: Speed hiking means walking fast. But what makes it different from other outdoor activities like trail running? In contrast to trail running and despite its name, speed hiking is less about competition and speed. Rather, it is about the athletic movement on challenging, steep terrain and the mountain and nature experience itself. And while trail running is more about how fast one can move through a certain stretch of trail, speed hiking can reach from a short distance to a multi-day venture with overnight stays in mountain huts.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SPEED HIKING?
Speed hiking combines the joy of being outside in the mountains with a full-body workout as numerous muscle regions are used and trained. Through the use of poles, speed hiking not only ensures an intensive training of the legs, but also of the upper body muscles. Also, thanks to the hiking poles, the strain on the joints is lower than when running.
Through the use of a variety of muscle groups in conjunction with the constant effort, endurance and the cardiovascular system are trained. In this way, speed hiking is a muscle and cardio workout at the same time where plenty of calories are burned. In addition, the muscular coordination and the sense of balance are strengthened.
Although speed hiking is faster than standard hiking and despite all the effort, it does have a relaxing effect. Unlike trail running, you can enjoy the surroundings and slow down whenever you want to take in the beauty of the mountains and nature.
IS SPEED HIKING THE RIGHT THING FOR ME?
Speed hiking is an activity that is in principle suitable for anyone who is light on his or her feet. However, it is recommended to start slowly so that the body – the cardiovascular system, muscles, ligaments and joints – can adjust to this new activity. Of course, this is even more true when you exercise high up in the mountains.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
The general goal is to have a lighter load, which allows for faster hikes over one or more days. But a lot depends on the season and the duration of the journey. The body produces a lot of heat during a hike, therefore breathable and heat-regulating apparel is important. Especially in the mountains, a light jacket might be needed even in the summer. You also need appropriate poles and the right footwear to hike on mud and gravel or to go fast over wet rocks. In addition to these essentials, a GPS device can be beneficial on long and unfamiliar routes. And apart from the gear, of course, you should always take enough water or other drinks with you as well as a few snacks.
Enjoy your speed hike!