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It’s always easy enough to throw money at a problem, providing you’ve got the money, rather than really getting to the root of the problem. This is partially why I think we strive to cut the weight of our kit, either spending hours producing kit that’s 5g lighter than what we’ve already got or £600 on a tent as it only weighs the same as an unladen swallow.
I’ve been guilty of this. Trying to reduce my overnight pack to under 10 kilos when I could have shed twice that weight from my own body cheaply enough. No matter how much you spend on kit, the most important thing you can take on the mountain is your fitness. On a hard winter day in the mountains when the snow’s deeper than expected and you know you’ve not a minute to spare, you certainly can’t afford for your fitness to let you down. Your fitness becomes your most important tool. If you’re too tired, you won’t be able to use your ice axe properly and fatigue might lead you to trip on your crampons. You only have one option, and that is to get off your arse and do something about it.
You can’t quite buy fitness, but the Hill Fit eBook by Chris Highcock is the next best thing. Once you part with your hard earned pennies, the hard work really does begin. There’s no short cut here, just effective exercises that are designed to strengthen the parts of the body that you need in order to get fit on the hill. The old adage is that you can only get fit for hill walking by walking the hills, but now you can modify that by getting fit for hill walking by working the muscles you need for hill walking. Of course, Chris does state that you’ll still need to walk in order to get the full benefit.
I’m lucky enough to be able to get out there sufficiently often to get fit (ish!) by walking the hills, but there are still periods when conditions conspire against you, such as the weather for the last three years, when a set of structured exercises will be useful. Even then, a bit of strength training won’t go amiss. More so is if you’re unable to walk due to injury, this provides you with a set of low impact exercises that can maintain your strength even if you’re unable to get out. This is similar to what I did when I was unable to walk the hills for nearly six month, where I used the Xbox Kinect system and was frustrated in the end by shortcomings in the software. However they allowed me to keep my strength up, and coupled with running meant that I restarted possibly fitter than I started. The exercises in Hill Fit are easy enough for me to follow, and as I’ve the co-ordination of a newly born foal on a treadmill that’s saying something, and require no specialist equipment.
If you want to know why the strength training is important, even this is explained in the introduction which explains the importance of strength for the walker before continuing by explaining the basics of the science behind it.
The philosophy that you can gain more enjoyment from the hills by getting fitter rather than by buying kit that makes up for lack of fitness is something emphasised throughout the eBook. Increase your fitness and increase your fun. As someone who’s personally transformed his fitness around over the last five years, I can only agree wholeheartedly with that!
Summary – An easy to follow strength routine for building on your hill fitness.
The Hill Fit eBook is available to download on the Hill Fit website at the following link for £9.95.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.
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