Across the country, many of us are experiencing some level of shutdown. But many locales are also permitting walking, running and biking as long as we maintain social distancing.

If you’re an adventure traveler, these are particularly frustrating times. But smart cyclists and hikers can turn the days at home to their advantage and use these precious hours to get fit for their next adventure, whether it’s this summer or next fall.

Backroads, the world’s largest active travel company, has come up with a series of conditioning tips to help travelers use their time at home to get in their best shape for future active vacations.

The Backroads website has a roster of ProTips created by their Trip Leaders, travelers and industry experts. These tips are designed to help guests prepare and train for a biking or hiking vacation. There are also recommendations for choosing the right gear and details on best nutrition practices while you’re training.

Whether you’re out riding in the neighborhood, or training on a stationary bike, here are some tips to help with training. If you’re training for a cycling trip, stretch before and after a bike ride or spin session, using these proven stretches, some of which will be familiar from yoga class.

Pre-ride stretches should include shoulder rolls, neck stretches, wrist relaxers and lower back twist. Post-ride stretches can include a chest opener, forward fold, standing hamstring stretch, standing figure-four stretch and a quad stretch. All of these are detailed on the Backroads site.

Backroads advises building up mileage gradually, building up endurance and layering on mileage gains over time. Start with low mileage and then incrementally add on additional miles over the weeks. Adding five to 10 miles per week is a manageable goal for most riders.

If you need inspiration, and can maintain the requisite social distancing, find a friend or two to ride with. Remember though that one of the most important tips is to ride at your own pace. You can avoid burnout by cycling at a consistent pace that is right for your ability. So choose a riding companion accordingly.

Riding intervals can help you get faster and stronger. Backroads recommends alternating periods of all-out effort followed by easier riding. Ride hard for 30 seconds and then pedal easier for 60 seconds.

Cross Training is also a great benefit. Varying exercise helps build other muscle groups, along with gaining strength and injury prevention.

Don’t forget rest days, which are a necessary part of any training plan to allow the body to recover.

Hydration is obviously key. Drink water throughout the workout and always take an extra bottle along or refill your bottle often. Staying energized is important as well, so pack some energy bars for the ride.

Preparing for a hiking trip – short or long – is important for injury prevention and comfort. Once again stretching before and after a hike is key. It can help with a greater range of motion, flexibility, and lessens the amount of soreness post hike.

The best pre hike stretches are a calf stretch, standing quad stretch, shoulder rolls, hamstring stretch and a wrist stretch. Post-hike, try a standing saddle stretch, runner’s lunge, rag doll pose and ankle stretches. Again, detailed descriptions of these stretches are on the Backroads’ site.

On the hike, have a supply of trail mix, energy bars, and fruit. Hydration is important even if it a cold and wet day. The sage advice is to “drink an inch” from your bottle every time you hydrate.

You may not be able to hit the open road or explore the backcountry for a while, but at least you’ll be in top shape when that day comes.

More ProTips can be found at Backroads.



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