6 Steps to Get Physically Prepared for Your First Trail


Even though some people think hiking is not particularly demanding, it is much different from your regular walk in the park. Hiking requires balance and strength, as well as strong cardiovascular endurance.

As a beginner, you need to do thorough preparation that will help your body withstand all the challenges of trekking, without suffering an injury. That is why we prepared this list of tips that will help you get physically ready for your first hiking adventure.

1. Work on Mobility and Flexibility

Mobility often gets overlooked when it comes to training plans, even though recovery sessions have an important role in the process. Regardless of the type of exercise you do, you should never skip the cool down. Doing 10 to 15 minutes of light stretching is one of the best ways to prevent sore muscles, and it will help your body get back to its regular state.

Next to regular stretching, you can also benefit from yoga, foam rolling, and mobility exercises with a rubber band. Such activities will help you improve flexibility, balance, mobility, and kinesthetic awareness which all together do wonders for injury prevention.

2. Give Priority to Cardio Workouts

To build the stamina required for hiking, you need to incorporate cardio into your regular exercise plan. Whether you’re planning to do running, swimming, cycling, or jogging, make sure your heart rate is raised a couple of times a week through some sort of cardio training.

Even if you can’t fit visits to the gym and outdoor training into your schedule, some great exercises can easily be done at home. Doing a combination of squats, jumping jacks, hops, leg raises, half-jacks, and plank jacks requires no equipment, and the results will be amazing. And if you’re getting ready for a demanding hiking adventure, consider taking your workouts one step further by trying HIIT – high-intensity interval training which improves both anaerobic and aerobic fitness.

3. Do Not Skip Strength Training

Building up your strength is crucial for success in hiking, and you should concentrate on improving the strength in your core muscles and legs. Leg strength is essential for hiking of all kinds since your legs will be doing most of the work. Whether you’re looking to exercise at home or in a gym, never skip squats, lunges, and calf raises.

Also, try to slowly step on and off the exercise platform, and then gradually increase its height as you progress. As for the core (back, pelvis, and abdominal muscles), they are there to give balance and flexibility, and to support each activity you do on your hiking adventure. Doing planks, bridges, and crunches will help you build a strong core that can withstand all sorts of challenges.

4. Introduce a Balanced Diet

A great part of physical improvements starts in the kitchen. Even if you spend hours and hours training, you will hardly see any results if you don’t embrace healthy diet habits. Moreover, outdoor activities require a balanced diet that can provide your body with the energy and nutrients needed for challenging hikes.

To start eating right, include nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, vegetables, lean proteins, and fruits in your daily routine. On the other hand, steer clear of sugary drinks, processed foods, and excessive alcohol consumption. Also, try to eat small but frequent meals that will help you maintain high energy levels. On the day of a long training walk, have a well-rounded breakfast and drink plenty of water.

6. Take the Time to Practice Hiking

Once you’ve incorporated all the tips listed above in your weekly and daily routines and you’ve seen positive changes in your body, it is time to start doing practice hikes. To get the most out of this part of preparation, look for places with varying elevations and terrain types so you can get a clear idea of how your body responds to stresses and changes. That way you will know exactly what to strengthen and improve.

Next, remember to carry a backpack with you, and fill it up with a few water bottles so your body can get used to carrying a weighted pack. As you progress, add more weight to the backpack. Another benefit of practice hikes is the fact that you’ll get a chance to test your boots. The pair that you’ll choose for a big hiking adventure needs to be perfectly fitting so they can support you correctly.

Hiking is a wonderful adventure, as long as you give your body the right nutrients, proper exercise, and time to prepare for such a challenge. Now that you know all about the key areas you should work on, you will surely be able to get into the shape required for a hiking experience that will be both enjoyable and safe.

Srđan Kravić is an adept content writer and enthusiastic blog explorer with a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling. His writing journey is marked by a spectrum of engaging and informative content, ranging from thought-provoking articles to in-depth blog posts.

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