The best way to train for backpacking is to mimic the activity as closely as possible. The amount of conditioning you need depends on your current fitness level and the kinds of trips you have planned.
Tip: Before starting any exercise program, consult your physician.
How long does it take to get into backpacking shape? That depends on you. The better shape you're in now, the faster you'll be ready for a long-haul trip. Extra diligence and more lead time are also helpful.
Be patient and listen to your body. Aim to do some form of exercise at least 3 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time.
Your efforts will be amply rewarded with a happier, more relaxed time out on the trail.
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