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“I am a 44 year old coming off of years of inactivity due to degenerating knees and then two knee replacements. I did a 41 mile hike in the BWCA this spring that was relatively flat. The day we did have some hills I struggled.
This weekend I got my butt kicked good on the Superior Hiking Trail. Again it was the uphill climbs that killed me. I pushed until amost complete exhaustionbefore turning and hiking out.
I am looking for ideas (serious ideas) on how to build my stamina in the hills. The good news is my knees held up well. I really want to get this monkey off my back.”
“a stair climber would be a great idea. You might try to also start doing sets of lunges to build muscle strength.”
“I have both of these incorperated in my workout regime. I use a 12"box and carry a pack (40 lbs) to stair step. Lunges are part of my weight workout.
Part of it also was how winded I got. I was at a point (when I bailed) that I could only go about 100yds up hill before I had to stop and suck air - hard.”
“also - if applicable - lose excess fat pounds
each lb makes a huge difference
Also, taking the monkey off your back will really help as well. Any excess pounds you can shed will help. j/k
last edited: 5/30/05 10:35:19 AM”
“Part of it also was how winded I got.
have you tried running? sounds like you might need to control your breathing w/ aerobic activity with concentration on controlled breathing - it takes practice, but the effort is worth it
last edited: 5/30/05 10:33:16 AM”
“My doc has told me he didn't want me to do much running (hard on the knee replacements). I did start about two weeks ago (after the spring BWCA trip and my realization I wasn't were I wanted to be). It was pretty pathetic. I will keep that in my routine also. I have thought about swimming but am too cheap to join a club. I live in Minnesota so there are plenty of lakes.”
“running really puts a pounding on your knees and might be counterproductive. Instead try an eliptical machine or a recumbent bike - it'll give you the aerobic workout without the impact.
Controlled breathing will take time but it will come as your lung capacity adapts to the stress load you put on it.”
“to get in shape for the military I did a lot of rowing machine exercises - I got to the point where it seemed I could go forever - this is a very low impact aerobic exercise that will build your legs and will also increase your air capacity and "strengthen" your lungs - running/hiking etc. in the military was very easy after that training - I felt like I was overtrained, if that's possible
something to look into - *jumps of soapbox*
I am recovering from an ACL replacement now - Off to the gym ....
last edited: 5/30/05 10:42:16 AM”
“Treadmill at a good incline, 10 percent or more, for a sustained period of time. Shoot for 30 minutes at 3.5 miles or so. That will get your heart pumping without stressing your knees.”
“use a treadmill. You can control the incline and speed. Start out flat and slow and increase the incline and speed. You can keep your speed down if you like and max out the treadmill”
“If you fully use / take advantage of two hiking poles it might help more than you'd imagine. As you lean slightly forward when climbing, use your upper-body & arm strength to "push off" against your poles. When I'm hiking very steep grades out here in the Sierra I've gotten to the point where I wouldn't ever want to leave my poles behind - they make that much difference!”
“Good advice all!
hikergerb, I'm in MN also. And, also, I get winded on hills, yes, sucking air bad.
I could stand to lose a bunch of weight... I could be in better shape... I could get out more.
But here is something I also wonder about. Probably 15 years ago I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. Now, I think that is kinda crap. More like panic attacks and stress causing shortness of breath -- along with just plain not being in shape -- was always my take on it.
Have not used an inhaler in years. However, lately I have wondered if an inhaler would make a difference. Because I can hike a good clip and can hike hills (till my legs hurt, than I stop for a break), but I still just breathe so hard, I'm afraid fellow hikers will fear for me!”
“Sarge is right. The problem is aerobic and aerobic training is what you need. Have you considered a stationary bicycle? If that would be too expensive a limited membership at a local gym would provide you with bike time. There are probably bikes at the gym where you weight train.
Start out with a 15 minute training period every second day (Mon-Wed-Fri for example). It is important that your pedalling cadence be between 90 to 100 rpm for it to do any good.
BTW, you can easily tell if your exercise is aerobic - you must be able to talk while doing it. That is how you set the tension (it will take a few times at first); if you can't talk to the guy beside you (it's important to do it with a friend) through the 15 min session, ease off the tension.
It normally takes six weeks to see progress, but you'll probably be able to raise the tension at least a bit after three. After six weeks, if you have kept at it you can increas to 20 min. Time increases are the real sign of aerobic improvement.
As with any training programme a plateau problem will appear when progress seems to halt. This is a good time to get on the stairmaster. By then you ought to be fit enough to use it and when you see some progress you can return to the bike. By then you might even want to alternate stairmaster and bike.
That's the book answer - the Gremlin answer would be to get on a real bike and, while maintaining a 90-100 rpm cadence, have some fun tooling round the countryside.
Just remember to always be able to talk while exercising - but push yourself to the edge of that. 15 min max at the beginning and at lweast one rest day between sessions. Be patient - it will take about six weeks to see a real improvement. And change the basic routine if you feel you've stopped improving.
You don't need to stop anaerobic (weight) training, but you will need to manage recovery time. If you're on a Mon-Wed-Fri routing bike after weights.
Hope this makes sense.
“I appreciate all the advice. I am a bit more upbeat now than I was this morning (I hate bailing). I spent much of the winter wieght training (I do that with free weights at home). I did buy a biketrainer to use late in the winter. I will include that in my routine. I might have to find a club nearby to join that will have a stairmaster and treadmill.
My son (18) and I promised that we do it again next year. I have to keep pressing on. Again thanks for all the encouragment.”
“hikergerb, the shortness of breath could be a health problem, like the before mentioned exercise induced asthma or something far more serious like problems with your heart. You might want to talk to your doctor about the shortness of breath. And whatever activity you decide to take up, start really slow and build up intensity. If you are ever having trouble breathing, stop what you are doing! Follow the cardio guideline that you should be able to breathe well enough to have a conversation with another person while doing cardio. Exercise should not be painful. : )
I have the exercise induced asthma. Rat Packer once said it sounded like I was breathing through a metal pipe. Oh what fun!”
“I also have asthma. This winter I thought I was out of shape after my alcohol induced ankle fracture. I then learned four weeks ago - when I went to Emergency - that I had a low-grade lung infection.
I think Pixie's right and that it would be a good idea to have everything checked - particularly if you're going to start training harder.”
“That's a bummer Gremlin. Glad they found it so you can get better now. : )”
I bounced right back with prednisone.
I thought I was going to lose my big toenails after doing Algonquin (and dragging my butt) at Easter because they went opaqe. When I got out of the hospital they were all white. Now they're pink again and I'm my old Gremlin self.
I must have been caqrrying the infection since Easter at least - but I suspect Christmas when I caught the Norwalk virus.”
“I have had two complete physicals in the last three years. I doubt there is a heart issue but I will bring it up to my doc and see if he wants to check me out again.”
“It's all in your head. I've always liked to say that there are two types of people in the camping/hiking world: those who want to get out into the woods and those who don't. You seem to be one of the former, and that's the most important part. Everything else is just details.
As long as your knees are in good shape, you should be ok. Maybe you can start with some shorter, less strenuous trails, and as you get to hiking some of them and your shape starts to improve, you can gradually move to harder trails until you're flying up and down over those rises like nobody's business.
Anyway, welcome aboard and I hope to see you out there if I can ever get out to Minnesota...”
“And don't worry so much about bailing either. Sometimes it's just plain more logical to do so. Remember, what really counts here is the overall experience of making a trip out the woods. Sometimes, certain conditions may threaten that, in which altering the route or turning around might be the best option.
Bad weather on a dayhike comes to mind as an example -- maybe because that's what I ran into this afternoon, but I digress. Another time, I turned around because we were snowshoeing in a foot of new snow and we ran into unbroken trail which would require about 17 miles over 2 days thru unbroken snow. With only 2 snowshoers and a 3rd hiker with no snowshoes, it quickly became the obvious thing to go back.”
“i agree with phantomsoul. if you want to get better at something the best way is to do it.”
“Phantomsoul - You are right, I do want to get out in the woods. I also beleive that it is better to bail and hike another day than to do something stupid and either get hurt or worse. I am planning a return to the same trail on Father's Day weekend - this time day hiking. I am far from done.”
“Two day down on the bike and one to go this week. I do 20 minutes starting with a heart rate of 115 for 5 then 120 for 5 then 125 for 5 then 130 for 5. I'll see where I am at in 3 weeks when I head back up north - day hiking”
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