The world of sports never stops renewing itself. Thanks to the increasing popularization of a healthy lifestyle model, new ways of enjoying sport are constantly being born. One of the latest proofs of this is the appearance of the so-called fast hiking or speed hiking, which is born from the fusion of two disciplines that already existed.
Halfway between hiking, which consists of walking through natural and rural environments at a gentle pace that allows you to enjoy the landscape, and trail running, which are races of high physical demand through the same type of natural environments, fast hiking arrives to offer us the best of both worlds. It’s about walking the hiking trails, but at a fast pace that poses a moderate physical challenge. Of course, the goal is to walk, not run, so it is available to anyone.
Who is Fast Hiking for?
As a hybrid discipline that it is, fast hiking has a large potential audience. If you are an experienced hiker and you want to continue enjoying nature but miss a greater intensity, you will like this. If you are already tired of always seeing the same landscapes and faces in your running sessions, you should also try it and organize your first hiking getaway. Basically, it is a sport that tries to combine the enjoyment of nature with moderate physical training.
Experts advise to be in the good physical condition and be used to walking in the mountains for days of 6-8 hours, approximately, to practice hiking at a fast pace.
Despite its still short life, this discipline has an entire library of hiking trails. In addition, specific fast hiking routes are beginning to appear, and there are them of all levels. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran or just starting to get fit: if you like nature, speed hiking is for you.
All the benefits that fast hiking will bring you
The sports base of fast hiking is similar to that of powerwalking: it is about walking fast. Obviously, there are clear and important differences that are given by the environment, but the basis is that. It is an important detail because the athletic disciplines that consist of walking enjoy many advantages.
To begin with, by not running we eliminate the flight phase of the stride, and therefore also the impact. Many people who suffer from joints or the spine cannot practice sports with a high level of impact due to how aggressive they are on the body, but fast hiking allows these athletes to exercise at an intensity difficult to achieve in other ways. In addition, by working in the aerobic zone, greater fat burning is favored.
As if all this were not enough, an improvement in blood pressure is achieved. And all this surrounded by nature and enjoying pure and clean air. Do you want to increase the challenge even more? Dare with high mountain routes. The less amount of oxygen in the air will improve your ability to capture it.
What do you need to practice Speed Hiking?
Despite being a recent discipline, the force with which it has arrived has encouraged many sports equipment brands to prepare their own lines of specific equipment for fast hiking. Given its peculiar characteristics, it is a very good idea to get hold of this equipment if you are fond of it. However, to test your first sessions you can improvise with more generic equipment:
- The most important thing is that you wear light and breathable clothing. You don’t want to end up drenched in sweat in the mountains in the summer, or get too cold when that moisture evaporates.
- Use small backpacks, no more than 20 liters in capacity.
- Light mountain shoes, of vital importance, since asphalt shoes will not give you enough grip, and heavy mountain boots will be too hot.
- Other accessories: cap or handband, sunscreen, poles, and mini medicine cabinet with personal medication.