Tough hike - big fitness boost?

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Tough hike - big fitness boost?

Postby Kuhr » Tue 08 May, 2018 4:44 pm

Greets

I am an overweight guy (120 kg) who has hiked 1-3 times a week for 18 months solo, and as part of organised groups. I have no problem with long 20km plus hikes, and have completed many small Mountain hikes lately like Flinders Peak and the Cream Track.

Two days ago I tackled Mt Barney South ridge solo (second time - a friend and I almost made it six months ago in 12 hours) and did make the peak this time. Return time from the car park was 9 hrs 42 minutes with 40 mins of that at the summit.

Since the trip I've been understandably sore all over, but I have noticed an incredible boost in my fitness - I walk faster, tire less, my heart rate and breathing rate when fast walking is way down and I feel far stronger all over. Just more sore as well.

Is it normal to feel such a large fitness boost from a single extreme hiking event?

Regards
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Re: Tough hike - big fitness boost?

Postby Mechanic-AL » Tue 08 May, 2018 7:15 pm

You Betcha !!!

I feel like superman every time I complete a multi day walk.
Unfortunately, if I don't back it up with regular day walks it's not too long before I feel like I've been exposed to Kryptonite again.

And long walks are not only good physically, they help de-clutter the 'ol brain a bit ( does for me anyway ) and that's got to make you feel better.
Hope your out there again soon !
"What went ye out into the wilderness to see?
A reed shaken in the wind"?
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Re: Tough hike - big fitness boost?

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 08 May, 2018 8:24 pm

I’ve read (and this backed up by personal experience) that fitness level is one of the fastest to increase. Literally a few days of intense exercise and you can increase your fitness, sadly it also decreases equally fast, you start to lose percentages of gained fitness in about a week. Of course if you keep walking you wont lose it! :D
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Re: Tough hike - big fitness boost?

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 08 May, 2018 11:16 pm

One needs a base, then extreme intensity sessions can quickly uplift one's fitness. The base adds to the durability. Unfortunately for most bushwalkers who can't be 'training' every week, one needs to build that base by other exercises.
Just move it!
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Re: Tough hike - big fitness boost?

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Wed 09 May, 2018 1:50 pm

Mechanic-AL wrote:I feel like superman every time I complete a multi day walk.
Unfortunately, if I don't back it up with regular day walks it's not too long before I feel like I've been exposed to Kryptonite again.

Absolutely. Can only get time for a few (typ. 3-5) multiday walks a year, and maybe only 1-2 of those go for a week or more. The spike in fitness and general wellbeing after a multiday hangs around for maybe a couple of weeks and then dissipates.
GPSGuided wrote:Unfortunately for most bushwalkers who can't be 'training' every week, one needs to build that base by other exercises.

I suspect this applies to the vast majority of us who have to work :cry: ... running, gym, semi-regular daywalks are good but nothing like getting away with a full pack for a few days.
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Re: Tough hike - big fitness boost?

Postby wayno » Wed 09 May, 2018 2:19 pm

THE LIST OF CHANGES IN YOUR BODY FROM hard exercise is quite long....
the more you make it a habit the better it gets
more blood volume and red blood cells to transport nutrients oxygen to the muscles and waste products away from the muscles, more enzymes in your muscles to generate more force and energy...
you will also increase blood capilaries around the body to improve blood flow, but that is a slower process but continues on for years.
how much of a boost you get varies with your genes..
the often quoted figure of blood in your body for the average person is 7 litres, a top endurance athlete could have anything up to seven litres of blood.
you will be able to burn more glucose and fat as well. but remember the harder you exercise , you will need to increase how much you drink esp if you find you are sweating more. and the amount you will sweat could double with improved fitness as your cooling mechanism ramps up to cope with the extra heat output and coping with warm weather while you exercise.
but be wary, because you're going to be more prone to injury, it takes you body longer to physically strengthen up to fully cope with the extra ability to exert force on your limbs... novices who start endurance running often are most prone to injury around 6 weeks into their training as their ability to exercise outstrips their bodies ability to cope with the extra force being exerted on their body. so ease off if you start getting niggles, don't go mad on increasing the amount of bushwalking you do. normal training regimes shouldnt increase training volume and intensity more than ten percent a week
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: Tough hike - big fitness boost?

Postby 10001110101 » Thu 10 May, 2018 8:25 am

A big part of the perceived fitness boost after a tough hike like that could be psychological.

Fitness does increase (and decrease) very quickly, but you're generally looking at several weeks of consistent effort before there are measurable results.

Don't under-estimate the effect a psychological boost like that can have.
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Re: Tough hike - big fitness boost?

Postby Hallu » Wed 16 May, 2018 8:12 pm

I get that boost usually 2 days after. The day after not really, but 2 days after I'm a new man. For the soreness, I only feel it when I don't stretch. I know there's no proof stretching has any benefit but it seems to work for me. If you're overweight don't push your body too much. You may damage your knees and ankles. Don't let that feeling of improved fitness make you think you can do anything, wait until you've lost the excess weight. I've done a 3 week vacation in the US (California, Utah, Arizona) doing only day walks, but overall walking 5-6 hours on average every single day which I'd never done. By day 15 or 16 a calf muscle decided to just give up. It was too painful to do long hikes, I had to lay low for a a couple of days. It wasn't serious, but a warning that you can't push it too hard too fast.
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Re: Tough hike - big fitness boost?

Postby jdeks » Fri 25 May, 2018 5:41 pm

I might be able to add a bit of sports science to help explain this a bit.

Not to be a wet blanket but the perceived 'fitness' gain after an increase in a single exercise's load is indeed largely psychological, although the body does trigger some short term hormonal and metabolic responses to the physical stress to facilitate recovery. This is what you're likely feeling now, which in turn encourages and motivates you, resulting in more effort in exertion, thus feeling 'fitter'.

This is also why it feels like your 'fitness' drops off after a period of rest. No physical gain was actually made over a single trip - it's just your stress response winding down (because it's not needed if you're not stressing anything) . Veeeeery common with beginner weightlifters - you feel like you're superman about after a week in, stack on the plates, then suddenly your progress flat-lines.

Actual physiological changes take weeks of stress and recovery cycles normally. If you've been doing 18 months worth of hikes you would have undoubtedly already made some fitness gains this way, but it sounds like your Mt Barney trip was a bit more strenuous and sustained than your average load volume. Hence, the stress response was triggered anew.

This is where the concept of progressive overload becomes critical. If you walk 20km, 3 times a week, for 18 months, your body will adapt to become very good at being as efficient as possible at walking 20km three times a week, and no more. Truth be told, you were probably as fit as you were going to get doing that after 3 months. What you need to do is steadily increase that exercise volume over time, to keep triggering that stress response, and keep the body continually adapting to cope with greater loads - aka getting fitter.

The trick is not pushing too hard, too fast. Thats where both chronic and acute injury becomes a risk. Especially if you're a big fella doing a lot of walking, you need to keep in mine the knee support structures take longer to recover and grow than, say, your cardio does.

Try mixing it up a bit. Walk a few weeks and try to drop 5% of time or add 5% of distance each week. When you can't improve any further, rest for a week to reset that stress response and heal a bit, then go back and hit the trails with a mountain bike and try the same thing. Each rest cycle 'resets' that stress response surge and allows you to keep pushing the goalposts higher and make progress .
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