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Do you always lead the way in a group of hikers? Do others have difficulty keeping up? Do you enjoy giving it your all on short but intense climbs to reach a stunning view over the surrounding mountains? If you enjoy surpassing yourself and feeling your muscles heat up on climbs, but won’t run because you want to protect your joints or are recovering from an injury, you may already be speed hiking (also known as fast hiking) without even knowing it.
If you’ve not tried speed hiking but want to make the most of your holiday in the mountains and surpass yourself without harming your body, give it a go this summer, it’s great for all ages. You can only benefit from it!
The aim of speed hiking is to push yourself to the limit in specific parts of your journey. Speed hiking is more a question of small challenges and victories, for example climbing a slope as rapidly as possible to reach the top. Once you get there you can enjoy it without a second thought, and without worrying about your stopwatch.
Speed hiking offers all the benefits of running without the drawbacks, especially in terms of your joints. Running puts the knees under a lot of stress, among other things. Speed hiking is a so-called “soft” sport and will strengthen muscles all over your body. This is because your entire body is active, not just your legs. Here you will find a few exercises for warming up, awakening your body and avoiding injuries. Remember to move your arms sufficiently and use hiking poles if necessary, in particular when going downhill. We explain the correct way of adjusting your poles here.
Speed hiking is very different from your average stroll. You can set yourself increasingly difficult challenges and exceed your limits –: you will get your adrenalin pumping and feel satisfied with your efforts without harming your body. You’ve already bought what you need from the trail running department of your favourite store to improve your performance? Bear in mind that running shoes have very different cushioning capacities to walking shoes. Opt for ultra-light speed hiking shoes with optimum foot roll, all-terrain soles and cushioning capacities designed for walking.
If you live in the city and want to experience new sensations on holiday, or if you’re starting to get bored with your gym, speed hiking is a bit like an outdoor fitness equivalent. Swap your mirrors and overcrowded exercise rooms for a bit of nature, the mountains and less beaten tracks. It’s a good way of enjoying exciting experiences and returning to your roots.
Finally, if, like many of us, you find you’ve never enough time to do the hundreds of things you want to do, make the most of your holidays or a weekend to go speed hiking in the morning and enjoy being with your family and cultural visits in the afternoon. It’s an opportunity to not only improve your health but also enjoy stunning views and a well-deserved rest at the end of the day.