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Getting in Shape


Conditioning for Your Recreation Activity

Everyone from the novice to the most experienced hiker, skier, biker, etc. can benefit from conditioning which builds both physical strength and endurance, and gives you the self confidence to pursue your desired outdoor recreation activities. But remember, no one is capable of getting into shape in only a few weeks before undertaking strenusous activity. In fact, last minute rigorous exercise will often deplete the body's energy stores, leaving you too exhausted to enjoy your recreation activity trip and increasing your risk of injury.

Hiking burns 3.6 calories per hour per pound. Thus a person weighing 150 pounds would burn off on average 540 calories per one hour of hiking (3.6 calories/lb x 150 lbs x 1 hour). This means that the same person participating in a hike of 4 hours duration would consume 2160 calories. This level of calorie expenditure weekly is recommended by health experts to achieve an optimum level of fitness and a significantly reduced risk of heart disease.

Getting in shape for any outdoor recreation activity involves improving your aerobic fitness, combined with some basic strength training and balance exercises. When planning your conditioning program remember that you are most likely to succeed if you select exercise activities that you enjoy, if you have adequate time in your schedule to spend doing those activities, and if you select realistic but increasingly challenging goals over time. And remember, you don t necessarily need to join a gym or buy a bunch of equipment to get fit. The best way to train for an activity is to do it!

Below is link to a suggested conditioning program which will help get you in shape for your chosen outdoor recreation activity. There are, of course, many other options which you may prefer to help you get ready depending on your level of fitness, experience, and the equipment or facilities you have available to use. You may wish to contact a local gym or personal trainer to help find a conditioning program tailored to your specific needs.

It's a good idea to spend some time and effort preparing for your outdoor recreation activity. Guidance and tips on how to get in condition are presented in this document (PDF, 1.8 MB).


It is recommended that you consult with your doctor if you have a medical condition which may affect your ability to exercise; if you are starting to exercise for the first time; or if you plan to substantially increase the intensity of your current exercise program.

(Top banner photo: View south from Spectacle Ridge trail, overlooking Spectacle & Bark lakes.)

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