How to Increase Your Stamina for Your Next Hike?

Studies have shown frequently that the best way to improve the quality of your life is to get active. Exercise – including hiking – makes up for an excellent way to supply your body with a cocktail of good hormones such as endorphins. Better still, going for extra-long walks on outdoor trails improves the serotonin and dopamine levels in the blood.

Hiking, or just taking a nature walk in the woods, has many benefits. Not only is it a fun experience, but it’s also exceptionally calming. Aside from giving you the chance to engage with Mother Nature, hiking takes you to a whole new world of unique experiences.

Whether you are a beginner or intermediate hiker, trekking requires optimal endurance and stamina to ensure the best results. Below is a comprehensive guide to help you develop endurance for hiking.

How to Build Hiking Endurance?

For any hiking enthusiast, success is when opportunity and preparation come together. It’s a saying that you can apply to any venture in life. Being a hiker is a great learning experience, apart from giving you a good body workout. Even if long hikes sound excellent for the soul and body, you still need some preparation before you take on long hikes.

Even if you are fully confident on taking some of the longest hikes, its best to ensure your body is good shape. Getting your body in shape means that you never lag and that you can reach those tasty fruits that grow up on the trees with ease.

You already know that physical activity has various unique benefits for your body. To build optimal endurance to enjoy long hikes, you have to implement a multi-faceted approach.

Walking and Running to Build Hiking Stamina

During the week, you can start with short walks and runs. Walking and running and simple yet effective techniques for enhancing your endurance. If you have a tight work schedule, ensure you make up some time each week to get active. The best times for such a person would be to work out early in the morning or late in the evening.

Start by taking short walks. A few minutes’ walk each day is crucial. It helps to build your short twitch muscles, which are essential for walking long distances. Remember to set goals with your walking schedule. The best approach would be to keep track of the miles you walk each day. Increase the amount gradually, as you adjust to the hiking experience.

When running, start with simple jogs, and then move up to short tuns. Consider going for two to three runs every week. While the runs don’t have to be sprints, try to push your body to adjust to an increased physical activity workload. After every 15-minute walk, you can run for 5 minutes and then repeat the same three times. Remember to alternate your runs with jogs for the best results.

Running helps to develop the fast-twitch muscles in your legs, which can be beneficial when you have to run away from a beehive.

Cardio Workouts to Build Hiking Endurance.

The range of cardiovascular workouts is broad and diverse. Activities such as rowing, swimming, and cycling are all beneficial. Cycling is excellent because it works all every section of the lower body. More so, it also challenges your cardiovascular system to pump oxygen, thus improving your blood pressure levels.

Swimming is also excellent, and it also helps to work your body. For the best results, you have to learn how to swim appropriately. Consider trying out different swimming strokes, which work for your body.

While rowing is a low impact activity, it has many benefits for the upper body section. Furthermore, it also helps improve your cardiovascular endurance, especially when you have to row for long distances.

Weight Training to Build Hiking Stamina and Endurance.

Building strength is vital. Aside from developing your cardiovascular fitness, you also want to improve your overall body strength. Body strength is essential, especially when you have to get through creeks, or perhaps climb up steep slopes. Usually, you have everything in your bag, and moving around with such as haul can be back-breaking work.

Thus, you need to develop optimal muscle strength for the best results. The typical weight training exercises to consider include squats, pushups, kettlebells, deadlifts, and more. Also, consider running or walking around for long distances with weights in your backpack. This helps accustom your body to moving around with everything you need for long distances.

When performing weight training, you can start with weight lifting, then move on to movements that help you achieve optimal strength. Perform this activity twice a week. Squats and deadlifts, for example, are suitable for improving the strength of your hamstrings, quads, back, and glutes.

Engage in Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques are as important as cardio workouts and weight training activities. They can be beneficial when climbing up in elevated areas. Take some time every day to practice your breathing techniques.

In this YouTube video, you will learn some excellent techniques on deep breathing. Usually, you want to take in deep breaths, with the goal of pushing as much oxygen in the lungs as possible.

More so, techniques such as meditation and yoga can be beneficial for your overall physical wellbeing. Yoga improves your cardiovascular fitness, while meditation will improve your focus level when moving outdoors.

Eat Well

Yes, that`s right. Consuming a proper diet is crucial for your ability to trek long distances. It’s one of the key factors behind the exceptional performance of most professional athletes today. You need a diet with all the proper nutrients, including carbohydrates, minerals, proteins, and more. A proper diet ensures various aspects of the body perform at top-notch levels.

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These include body systems such as cardiovascular systems, respiratory, foot metabolism, mental focus, muscle strength, and more. In essence, your diet should consist of everything from leafy greens, white meat, fruits, and more.

Improve the Frequency of Your Training

Once you perform the above exercises, you should improve your frequency. You cannot become a pro hiker, just by performing a few walks, jogs, deadlifts or squats. By enhancing your frequency, you can enhance your endurance when hiking.

Furthermore, your physical activities should have a combination of endurance, strength, and cross-training activities. Remember that workouts don’t have to last for many hours. Short physical activities are perfect if you are performing intensive exercises.

It’s great to increase the length of hiking every time you go outdoors. Increasing your work rate gradually over time will improve your endurance significantly. Hiking is the only activity that helps improve your ability to walk long distances through trails. You will come across several endurance training programs, which you can customize to suit your needs.

An endurance training program might involve various physical activity techniques. These might include press-ups, squats, swimming, rope skipping, weight lifting, and more.

Develop Optimal Mental Toughness

Aside from honing your physical abilities, you also have to work on your mental state. Mental strength is crucial in developing stamina, especially for hikers. Take good care of your mental health, and you will improve your performance significantly. The common mental health techniques include:

  • Consider doing yoga, meditation, and any useful wellness technique
  • Wake up in the morning to workout and perform exercises
  • Set progressive goals for any form of mental health activity you perform
  • Avoid consuming products such as fasts foods

Factors to Consider for Building Hiking Stamina

  • Try to go for short hikes during the week. You can go for the hikes on average 3-4 times a week. The short hikes allow the body to adjust to new terrains while improving muscle performance.
  • Go for long hikes during weekends. During the weekends, you are more likely to have some free time. Thus, just a single long hike during the weekend can help improve your fitness and prepare you for tough hikes. When engaging in long hikes, consider taking short breaks.
  • Stay active at all times. Regardless of whether it’s on or off-season, ensure that you stay active and keeping exercising. Keep your body active, and you will reduce the amount of work required to get your body back in shape.
  • Set goals and targets for your workout regimen. When you set goals, ensure that you also identify a solution for holding yourself accountable for failures.
  • Get good hiking shoes. The quality of your gear also determines whether you can go long walks without issues such as aches.


Continuous practice is key to improving your stamina as a hiker. Whether you are a novice or professional, enhancing your endurance will improve your ability to hike long distances. Activities such as jogging, running, cardio, and breathing techniques are all useful for improving stamina.

The best way to keep the body in top condition is to always be in motion – avoid laziness. Get active and improve the performance of body organs, including muscles.

More so, eating well is crucial because it improves the supply of nutrients to the muscles, bones, and various other aspects of the body.

Sarah Shawman is the webmistress of Standing Shoes (Formerly “Footwear 4 Workers”).
She started this website out of displeasure with the fact that there are so few good online resources especially dedicated to the 99%: working people. Having suffered from work related plantar fasciitis herself, she set out on a mission to help others.

How Do I Increase My Stamina For Hiking?

How Do I Increase My Stamina For Hiking?

Hiking is an amazing way to get a workout in, get out in nature, and experience beautiful places that are otherwise inaccessible. While hiking essentially boils down to prolonged walking, it can be quite demanding when you are carrying a backpack, hiking uphill, or scrambling over uneven ground.

Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to improve your hiking stamina and prepare yourself for a successful adventure. Here they are…

10 ways to increase stamina for hiking:

1. Prepare Your Feet For Hiking

Your feet are your most important tool when you are hiking, and nothing can ruin a hike as quickly as painful or sore feet. Prevent pain and blisters by investing in some high-quality hiking boots or shoes as well as a few pairs of socks that are made specifically for hiking.

While it might seem ridiculous to spend in the neighborhood of $20 on one pair of socks, your feet will definitely thank you on the trail. Hiking socks are made to keep your feet dry all day, which prevents blisters and hot spots.

Make sure that you break in new hiking boots or shoes gradually before you embark on a long hike. Wear them around town for a few days when you first get them or take shorter walks. This helps make sure your shoes are the right size and will help prevent blisters on the trail.

If you do get blisters while you are hiking, stop as soon as you notice and lance the blisters. This is an unsavory process, but unless you lance them, the blisters will just continue to get worse. Once all the fluid is drained, cover the area in Moleskin, sports tape, or duct tape. If you know you are prone to blisters and hot spots, you can also tape up problem areas preventatively, before a blister forms.

Happy feet make for a happy hike.

Finally, strengthen the bones, muscles, and tendons in your feet. This helps prevent injuries like stress fractures and plantar fasciitis. Walking barefoot over uneven surfaces like beach rocks or sand helps strengthen your feet structurally and toughens your skin to lessen the chance of blisters.

There are also a few exercises that target your feet specifically, like calf raises. Calf raises strengthen not only your calf muscles, but also your ankle tendons and ligaments, and your feet. Plus, they help improve your balance.

“Towel grabs” are another good exercise for your feet: stand or sit with a hand towel or shower towel flat on the ground in front of you, then use only your toes to pull the towel toward you. This targets the muscles and tendons in the arch of your foot, which can help prevent pain on the trail.

2. Breathe More Efficiently

This is a big struggle for me personally, as I get out of breath quickly on uphill hikes. Luckily, I’ve found some things that help. Strengthening your muscles (especially the big muscle groups in your legs and your glutes) and doing cardio workouts a few times a week will increase your overall stamina and also allow you to intake oxygen more efficiently, which keeps your muscles working stronger and longer.

I’ll be honest, I was dying on the switchbacks leading up to the Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park.

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Practicing mindful breath work a few times a week is another way to increase your lung capacity. Finally, doing yoga or some light stretching can help loosen up the muscles surrounding your lungs and rib cage, which will allow you to breathe more deeply and take in more oxygen per breath.

3. Eat Quality Energy Foods

The best foods to eat before and during hikes are chock full of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, like oatmeal, eggs, nuts, lean meats, and pasta. Depending on the length of your hike, it may not be practical to pack perishable foods, but be sure to look for lightweight, calorie-dense options.

Fueling up in the morning before you begin hiking is super important for maintaining your energy throughout the day, but it’s also critical to bring plenty of snacks and drink water even when you aren’t yet feeling thirsty. You can burn up over 500 calories per hour hiking, so make sure to stay fueled up to prevent exhaustion.

4. Lose Some Extra Body Fat

Excess body fat is essentially just weighing you down on the trail, making your leg muscles and glutes work harder than necessary. Conveniently, hiking is a great way to lose body fat so by hiking more, you will develop muscle mass and shed extra fat.

Lifting weights a few times a week is another great way to put on muscle, which is itself an excellent fat burner. Strength training with weights also helps prevent muscle loss when your body is working hard in a calorie deficit, as is frequently the case on long and intense hikes.

To read more on how body fat percentage and consistent training affects the body in endurance events, here’s a study that goes deeper into the topic: Marathon performance in relation to body fat percentage and training indices in recreational male runners. – Journal of Sports Medicine

5. Lighten Your Pack Weight

Your backpack weight can have a huge impact on your stamina. In fact, packing too much weight is probably the number one mistake that new backpackers make. Sleeping systems and water are the heaviest and bulkiest items in your pack, so do your research on R-values and warmth ratings to ensure that you can carry the bare minimum amount of gear for sleeping while still staying cozy all night.

Plan out your water needs so that you can filter water at a stream or spring along the way whenever possible, and carry a collapsible water container rather than a heavy hard plastic water bottle.

I knew the Angels Landing Trail would require lots of water, so I brought a hydration pack with a few snacks and that’s it, to keep my pack as light as possible.

6. Full Body Weight Training

As I mentioned in the few of the previous tips, weight training can help you not only with burning off extra fat but also with taking in oxygen more efficiently and improving your lung capacity. The more conditioned your muscles are, the less hard they will have to work at hiking. They will stay oxygenated longer and you won’t reach the huffing and puffing stage as fast.

Weight training can also prevent injuries on the trail since it helps strengthen joints and ligaments as well as the big muscle groups. This can be the difference between rolling your ankle but catching yourself and a hike-ending ankle sprain or fall.

7. Hike More!

As with anything, practice makes perfect. Hiking more will help increase your stamina and strengthen your muscles. The more you hike, the easier it will be to crush out increasingly longer and harder hikes. Consider hiking with a weighted vest on for extra conditioning.

Even if you only have time for a walk around the neighborhood after work, wearing a weighted vest can take your training regimen up a notch, helping you build stamina even faster.

Hiking with friends and to beautiful locations keeps things fun and interesting!

8. Cross Train

While the best way to prepare for hiking is to actually hike with a pack on, cross training with other sports and activities can help prevent monotony and be a fun way to keep your muscles in good shape in the offseason. Swimming, skiing, running, and cycling are all excellent options that incorporate cardio and strength elements.

These activities will build your aerobic conditioning and strengthen your joints as well.

9. Condition Uphill Hiking Muscles

Hiking uphill works nearly every group of leg muscles: your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and hip muscles, plus your abdominal muscles get involved. Doing exercises that target these muscle groups specifically will improve stamina as well.

We have also put together a list of exercises for hiking muscles with helpful instructions: How to Get in Shape for Hiking: Training, Tips and Exercises

10. Work On Your Mental Strength

Mental stamina plays a huge role in hiking and can definitely impact your physical stamina. If you start the day with a bad attitude and an “I can’t” attitude, chances are you will struggle on the trail, feel tired quickly, and generally have a bad day hiking. Fortunately, mental strength can be trained and developed just like physical strength.

Affirmations can be helpful for banishing negative thoughts, especially when you are panting and sweating your way up a particularly miserable steep trail. Repeating a positive mantra can help you feel strong and power through the toughest parts of your hike. Some examples of affirmations are as follows:

  • “I’ve trained and fueled my body for this, and I will crush it.”
  • “This type two fun is worth the struggle.”
  • “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
  • “My legs are going to look so great after this hike.”

Affirmations can be silly like that last one, but anything that takes your mind off your immediate suffering or re-frames the activity in a positive light can be majorly helpful!

Visualization can be another useful tool. Imagining yourself at the summit of your hike or at the top of the hill you are climbing and the incredible views that you will soak in will motivate you to keep going.

Goal setting – Finally, set goals for yourself along the hike. Creating small goals and rewarding yourself for reaching them makes the difficult parts of a hike go by faster and seem more achievable.

If you are on a long incline or feeling unmotivated, pick a landmark ahead or set a goal to hike for a certain number of minutes without resting. Your reward can be simple, like a five-minute breather when you reach your goal or a tasty snack. Then pick another goal and start again.

How do I increase my stamina for hiking?

When we talk about stamina, we’re referring to the amount of energy that we have to sustain physical activity.

It’s important for hiking because, as most of us know, hiking can be pretty strenuous! It’s not just about putting one foot in front of the other – you’re often carrying a heavy backpack, walking up inclines, and dealing with different types of terrain.

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All of this takes a lot of energy, so having good stamina is essential if you want to enjoy hiking and make it to the end of your trail.

So how can you increase your stamina for hiking? Here are a few tips:1. Get plenty of sleep.

This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to make sure you’re well-rested before heading out on a hike.

A good night’s sleep will help to ensure that your body has the energy it needs to get through a hike.

2. Eat a nutritious breakfast.

Eating a healthy breakfast will give you sustained energy throughout the day.

Choose foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and protein, such as oatmeal, eggs, or whole-grain toast.

#2 Learn how to improve your cardiovascular fitness for hiking.

Your cardiovascular fitness is key to being able to hike for long periods of time without tiring.

To improve your cardiovascular fitness, start by adding some basic cardio exercises to your workout routine.

Jogging, swimming, and cycling are all great cardio exercises that will help to increase your stamina for hiking.

You can also try some interval training, where you alternate between periods of high-intensity and low-intensity exercise.

For example, you could sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 1 minute.

Repeat this for 10-15 minutes to start seeing results.

Finally, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your hike.

#3 Incorporate strength training into your routine to build muscle endurance.

Hiking is a great workout for your mind and body, but it can be tough on your muscles and joints if you’re not used to it.

To build up your stamina and make hiking a more enjoyable experience, incorporating strength training into your routine is key.

Strength training not only helps build muscle endurance, but it also helps improve your balance and coordination.

This is especially important when hiking on uneven terrain.

Incorporating exercises that work your legs, hips, and core will help you hike more efficiently and prevent fatigue.

Some great exercises to include in your strength-training routine are squats, lunges, and bridges.

These exercises will help build the muscles in your legs that are used the most when hiking.

For an added challenge, you can hold weights while you perform these exercises.

In addition to strength training, another way to increase your stamina for hiking is to gradually increase the distance and intensity of your hikes.

Start with shorter hikes and work your way up to longer ones.

And, be sure to give yourself plenty of rest in between hikes to let your muscles recover.

With a little time and effort, you can build up your stamina and enjoy hiking even more.

#4 Improve your flexibility to hike with ease and prevent injuries.

When it comes to hiking, having good stamina is key to being able to enjoy the activity and explore nature without tiring yourself out too quickly.

There are a few things you can do to help increase your stamina for hiking, and one of the most important is to work on your flexibility.

Being flexible will help you hike with ease and prevent injuries.

When your muscles are flexible, they can better absorb the impact of your steps, which takes some of the strain off of your joints and tendons.

This can help you avoid common injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, iliotibial band syndrome, and plantar fasciitis.

To increase your flexibility, you can do some simple stretches every day, both before and after your hikes.

Focus on stretching your calves, hamstrings, hips, and lower back.

Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to give your muscles time to loosen up.

You can also try doing yoga or Pilates, which are both great ways to improve flexibility.

In addition to stretching, another way to increase your stamina for hiking is to build up your endurance by doing regular cardio exercise.

#5 Get proper rest and nutrition to support your hiking stamina.

Assuming you would like tips on how to increase your stamina for hiking: One of the best ways to increase your stamina for hiking is to make sure you are getting proper rest and nutrition to support your hiking.

It is important to get enough sleep so your body can recover from your hike and have the energy to do it again.

Eating a balanced diet will help ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to hike.

Eating foods that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates will give you sustained energy throughout your hike.

Drinking plenty of water is also important to keep your body hydrated and to avoid fatigue.

In addition to getting proper rest and nutrition, there are some things you can do while hiking to increase your stamina.

Pacing yourself is important – start with a slow and steady pace and gradually increase your speed as you hike.

This will help your body become accustomed to the exercise and build up your endurance.

Taking breaks periodically is also important – rest when you feel tired and don’t push yourself too hard.

Listening to music or an audio book can help you keep a steady pace and distract you from how tired you may be feeling.

#6 Put it all together – a sample plan to increase your hiking stamina.

Assuming you already have a base level of fitness, here is a sample plan to help increase your hiking stamina.

This plan builds upon that base, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your hikes.

Start by hiking once a week, gradually increasing the distance and duration of your hikes.

Add in some uphill hiking and/or hiking with a heavier backpack to increase the intensity.

After a few weeks, you should be able to hike for 2-3 hours at a moderate pace.

At this point, you can start adding in some interval training.

For example, after warming up for 20 minutes, hike at a moderate pace for 2 minutes, then hike at a very intense pace for 1 minute.

Repeat this cycle for the duration of your hike.

Interval training will help increase your anaerobic capacity, which will come in handy when you need to hike uphill or pick up the pace.

As you continue to increase the distance and duration of your hikes, make sure to pay attention to your body.

If you start to feel fatigued, take a break.

It’s better to hike at a slower pace and take breaks than to push yourself too hard and risk injury.




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