Why does a hiker go to the gym? Or, in other words, why does this particular hiker go to the gym? Well, for instance to keep my life in check and to make sure my pant size remains the same or decreases. If you stop moving completely come Winter, you wouldn’t be able to carry your tube backpack in Summer on the account of being horribly out of shape.
I bought new skis and a pair of ski boots and I had a plan to go skiing this Winter but subzero temperatures and weeks of being sick really took its toll on me. After I got better, I hit the gym. It’s my thing, going two, or preferably three times a week, either to our work place gym or at the GoGo Express in Seppälä. I love GoGo, it’s a big gym without any nonesense. I’ve even had a training program made just for me by the gym’s Personal Trainer Timo. I’ve mentioned my program in my earlier blog Tavisvägen so I’m not going to list all the things here. Check the link! In my opinion, a program made by a professional pays itself back quite well, so remember to consult your local gym!
My program weighs heavily on hiking in a couple of ways. I’m trying to get rid of my round figure, partially because I want my clothes to fit better, partially so that I don’t face sudden cardiac arrest or some sort of vascular disease at a young age. It’s also beneficial to have less weight to carry around. Increasing muscle mass also helps spend more energy even when you’re resting. Losing weight by exercising is also aestheticly more pleasing, since it’s not my goal to have loose skin flapping around. And even though weightloss mostly happens by eating right, exercise makes it more rewarding.
Fat is also prone to low temperatures when comparing to muscle. Personally I’ve noticed this in my quadrizeps being basically so cold I’m worried they’re about to fall off (which would be perfect for weightloss, right?). Remember to dress accordingly if you have the same issue. A new trend is a down-filled skirt that you can wear over your regular pants. And it also works for men, like a kilt!
As a life-management tip I need to point out that even a weekend hike is enough to put your body on high alert. And even if you lose weight on your trip, remember to pace yourself when you start eating regular meals again. When I spent the weekend out there in the wilderness, I was incredibly hungry all the way until Thursday. This is where exercise and a healthy diet come in handy. Because if you lack routine, you might end up overdoing it with the intake.
One of my many goals is running. Which is to say I’d be able to run without my muscles and joints crying out in pain afterwards. Right now I’m able to make short bursts on a trail but not on pavement. The goal is to be able to run the whole way across Jyväsjärvi, or at least run long distances on trails. Muscle endurance is key, doing long and persistent work without passing out. I might not be able to lift cars but I’ll be able to walk 10 kilometers wearing all the necessary hiking equipment. That’s why I favour long sets: 4 x 13-15. So I’m not trying to get massive butt muscles or giant biceps – I’ll leave that to the pros. I guess they somehow improve your life too? And you need people to lift those cars! In any case, my goal is being able to run regularly and I’ll keep walking tens of kilometers until I am.
Ability to work
And it’s important to maintain the ability to work: improving your posture, detaching your mind from the daily grind and relaxing your shoulders. A day at the office sitting down is not good for your back, so I alternate from sitting down to standing up, thanks to our electric tables. My work chair has some handy settings as well. Going to the gym also makes it less likely for me to go on a long sick leave. The ability to work also supports the hiking and camping hobby – you need money to buy equipment and book trips so all this hiking isn’t happening solely within city limits.
January – the fitness month
Stoori.fi has had a lot of gym-related posts since New Years and you can feel the long-term enthusiasm in every word: Minna, Melkein oikeissa töissä, writes about a Regular Joe’s health renovation, Liisa, 147 cm elämää, works out at home. Jenna talks about different types of people at the gym in her Fortuna-blog. We know these all too well, we’re in there with the grandmas and grandpas, since we usually go in the morning!