How to physically prepare for a biking, hiking, or walking journey depends on many factors, including your level of aerobic fitness and strength. Don’t neglect strength training and your core. After all, you’ll be relying on strong legs for all those treks or bike rides. Multi-day biking and walking trips, especially those where you carry a heavy backpack, also require strong arms and trunk muscles.
If you are not well trained already, the best way to prepare is to do the activity under the conditions you’ll be experiencing—such as walking on rough terrain, cycling up steep hills, or carrying all your gear. Starting at least six to eight weeks before you depart, you will want to work your way up to being comfortable with the maximum daily mileage you’ll encounter on the trip.
Training for a bike trip can include a combination of aerobic exercise (focused on indoor or outdoor cycling along with cross-training such as rowing, jogging, or swimming) and strength training. For instance, each week you should do two long rides, gradually increasing the distance by five to 10 miles every week to two.
For walking and hiking treks, especially those with significant downhills—an activity that involves what’s called eccentric muscle contraction, which puts added strain on leg muscles—you should either do strength training that targets this kind of muscle action or do weekly treks that have a downhill component. Other workouts should include brisk walking, such as on a treadmill set on an incline, as well as stair climbing.