Two of the most common hiking injuries are ankle rolling and ankle sprains. If you’re out of shape or just haven’t been active for a while, start with some basic exercises to warm up your muscles and get your heart rate up.
1. Run or walk in sand: It builds the muscles that protect your knees and ankles OR join our Hiking Fitness Session once a week.
2. Build range of motion: Get a resistance band to strengthen your muscles through their full extension. Standing on a tennis ball or balance disc is great for this too as it builds the small stabilizer muscles around the ankle and knee.
3. Crunches: Building your core strength will help you keep your balance on uneven surfaces.
4. Squats and lunges: Keep your back straight and take each squat and lunge slowly to strengthen your core muscles.
5. Push-ups: Good upper body strength (especially in your back) will serve you well on long trips where you need to carry a heavier pack.
6. Cardio: Getting this is as easy as walking on a trail. Make sure to get your heart rate up. This will help build your lung capacity so you can hike longer. We run Monday, Wednesday and Friday mini hikes that would be a prefect way to increase your cardio fitness for the Day Weekend Hikes.
7. Step-ups: Before a backpacking trip, weight your pack (use 20 lbs. to start) and step up onto a park bench 16 to 18 inches high. Add 5 pounds a week until your pack is as heavy as it will be on your hike. To prepare for an extended, multi-day hike, do this exercise three times a week until you can do 700 steps in less than 30 minutes. Join our Step Up sessions we run online NOW!