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You don't have to be a professional athlete - or even close - to enjoy a hiking trip in New Zealand. With experienced guides at your side and a little camaraderie, you’d be surprised at what you can achieve.
That said, you'll definitely enjoy yourself far more if you do some preparation so your body is conditioned and ready to enjoy and make the most of the outdoors. We've pooled together our resources and have come to a consensus on our top 10 tips to help you get ready!
1. Rev up your ticker!
Think ‘interval training’, which means doing short bursts of high intensity work with recovery time in between. Depending on how fit you are, this can mean strolling with bursts of power walking, or jogging with sprints. Either way the aim is to get your heart rate up.
2. Take every opportunity you can to be active.
You can improve your fitness a lot just by adopting some new habits; take the stairs at work, go for a walk at lunchtime, park your car away from work and walk. Aim for 30 minutes a day and keep a diary so you can look back on it and feel proud. These may sound trivial but they’re all building blocks.
3. Hill training.
The most spectacular views aren't from the bottom of a valley – so when you’re in New Zealand you’ll want to be heading for the hills – to get those memorable views. A little time training on hills and stairs is an investment that’ll pay off big-time when you’re on your trip. When it comes to hills there’s no hurry, get into a slow steady rhythm and you’ll be at the top before you know it.
4. Join a local walking, hiking or running group.
This is a great way to get fit and you’ll also see new places, meet great people… and make them all jealous when they find out where you’re about to go on your travels.
5. Practice ‘backpacking’.
Grab your backpack (or borrow one) and head for your local hills! If you’re bringing your own backpack, practice adjusting the various straps so you know how it feels in different positions. Backpacks sit differently when they're full of gear and can alter your centre of balance, so train with varying weights in your pack.
6. Warm up, cool down and stretch.
If you’re doing a workout then make sure you start and finish gently and stretch any tight muscles – this will help you avoid any aches, pains and pulled muscles. If you’re a member of a gym try some yoga, tai chi or pilates classes to build up your flexibility, stability and balance.
7. Break in your boots.
Blisters and sore feet are no fun at all! So make sure that while you’re getting yourself ready you’re doing the same for your boots. Start by just wearing them around the house, then down the road, and walking the dog. Then ideally do a couple of decent length weekend hikes to prepare them for what is to come.
Eating little and often will keep your body well fuelled for outdoor exercise, especially food like nuts, dried fruit and bread. The odd bit of chocolate and a few boiled lollies are good for keeping your blood sugar levels up while you’re hiking as well!
When you suddenly ask your body to walk or be active, it needs a bit more fuel than it needs when, say, sitting at a desk all day! The main thing your body needs is water, so stay hydrated and practice sipping water often. Getting a water bottle or hydration bladder is a great way to make sure you have it on hand at all times. Make a habit out of taking a bottle of water with you wherever you go.
10. Have fun!
The most important point of all. You are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime (all things going well!) You’re going to meet some amazing people, see some wonderful places and create memories that will stay with you for life. The more prepared you are to tackle the various challenges, the more fun you will have. Also, with all the endorphins you create from all this training, you’ll be smiling from ear to ear! It’s a great way to boost your happy vibes.
Written: 7 articles
Our signature adventure trip, the 'Rimu' is the ultimate South Island adventure. We'll hike, bike, and sea kayak in the most beautiful places in New Zealand. When you travel with us you can be assured that you're with the real local experts.