It is crucial to successful individual and crew experiences that hikers are in strong physical condition for their Philmont trek. In order to get in the kind of physical shape that is appropriate for a Philmont trek, crew members need to start exercising at least eight months in advance. The most important aspects to focus on are aerobic/cardiovascular and lower body strength. Here are some activity suggestions for getting in shape:
- Go to your local high school football stadium and run/walk up the bleachers for an hour-long session twice a week. Turn it into a crew experience and have every crew member join, ensuring that everyone is in great shape. Once this activity becomes easy for you, bring your fully loaded backpack with you to get an idea of how your pack will feel, allowing you to tinker with your pack and figure out which settings work best.
- Go cycling twice a week. The distance is up to you: the leg workout combined with the cardiovascular aspect makes cycling a great preparation activity for backpacking.
- Keep track of your exercises by recording a logbook and post the activities you did over the past week on a crew-wide board at each troop meeting. This will let others know how dedicated you are to your trek and your crew and it will keep everyone accountable for getting into shape.
In addition to physical activity, eating right will go a long way in helping you get in shape for Philmont. A balanced diet is essential to healthy living and as Scouts we have all pledged to keep ourselves physically strong. It is crucial that all crew members – youth and advisors – be in excellent physical condition for their trek: the crew will be able to get to camp faster and have more time for program opportunities such as rock climbing, shooting, horseback riding, etc. while also having more energy in general. The hard work put into exercising now will pay off tenfold by the time of your trek.