Improve Your Aerobic Fitness
Backpacker|September - October 2021
Want to be more efficient on the trail? Start by developing your aerobic base (how well your body uses oxygen to burn fat), which allows you to do sustained cardio without gasping for breath. Hiking sometimes requires anaerobic fitness—short bursts of effort where your body produces energy without oxygen—but by and large, it’s an aerobic endeavor. During aerobic training, your heart rate should be elevated above resting, but not so high that you have to catch your breath.
KAELYN SILVA

In the Gym

Set an interval timer for 60 seconds of work with 10 seconds to rest and transition between exercises. Complete as many rounds of the following circuit as possible in the time you’ve selected for your workout (beginners should start with 35 to 40 minutes, building up to an hour). Add a load to increase the intensity, but remember to keep your exertion level in the aerobic zone (60 to 80 percent of your max heart rate). Check that by maintaining a conversation, even if it’s with yourself. If you get too breathless to finish a sentence, take a rest until you catch your breath.

1) Irregular Height and Surface Routine

a) Place five or six plyo boxes and balance balls (like BOSU balls) next to each other. Add in balance pods or stability discs if available. The layout of the equipment is not important: Use a straight line, an oval, or a zig-zag shape. Place each piece next to another one of a different height.

b) Walk through your layout—emphasizing stability by tightening your core—as many times as you can in one interval.

2) Low Hurdle Shuffle

a) Place two hurdles (or any object that requires you to pick up your knees to step over) about 20 inches apart.

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