How To Prepare For A Hike

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A woman hiking

Hiking is a great way to get into the outdoors, spend time with your friends and do something physical.

There are multiple studies showing that hiking can lower stress levels, improve control over body weight and even lower cholesterol levels.

If you’re worried about whether you’re fit enough for your first hike or you’re preparing for a particularly difficult one on the horizon there are some easy ways to get your mind and body prepared for the hike ahead.

We have some excellent exercises that will make sure that you’re not out of breath halfway into your hike. Read our tips below so that you’re ready for the trail up ahead.

Exercises & Fitness For Hiking

A group of people hiking in the forest.

Your endurance level is incredibly important for hiking, especially if it will take a few days or if it involves a lot of intense inclines. To be prepared for the trail, working on your strength in terms of endurance (meaning low weight and high reps) is important.

Take time to prepare

Rome wasn’t built in a day, which is why true fitness is something that needs to be incorporated into your lifestyle over the long term. In order to minimise your chances of injury, build up slowly and progressively increase the amount of weights and general exercise that you do. If not, you risk the chance of getting injured.

Focus on cardio

The cardiovascular system and your level of cardiorespiratory endurance is critical for intense hikes. Depending on where you’re at this can involve beginning with a long walk, a short jog, or a long run around the park.

You can also try running or walking in sand or simply taking the stairs to integrate some more cardio activity into your week.

Build your leg strength

Standing, climbing, walking and carrying a lot of gear for hours on end can take a toll on your legs. Squats, with or without weights, are a good way to start working on your leg strength. If you have access to gym equipment you may want to also incorporate some dead lifts to your routine too.

Lunges and step-ups are another way to easily work on your leg strength with minimal access to equipment.

Core strength

Having a strong core is needed for carrying a heavy hiking bag and other gear, plus the core is important for climbing and balance with particularly challenging trails.

If you’re looking to build your core, do some crunches and planks to practically build your core so that you’re hike ready.

Practice hiking

One of the best ways to get fit is to simply do a lot of hiking. Start with some simpler trails in your local area on your weekends and slowly take on the more difficult walks as your major hike approaches. It’s an excellent way to prepare for a challenging hike on the horizon and also benefit your mind and body. If you’re looking to do some amazing hikes in the beautiful Queenstown area and Glenorchy check out our guided walking options and book a walk with an experienced guide to support you along the way.

Summary

Hiking is a great way to get fit and enjoy some time in the outdoors with friends. There’s not much of a fitness-level barrier for most trails, but if you’d like to work on your fitness then there are some simple exercises that can go a long way to improve your overall hike-readiness, including:

  • Improving your cardio-base by walking and running (on sand if possible)
  • Building your leg strength with simple squats and lunges
  • Creating a strong core with crunches and planks
  • Practice hiking on local trails regularly
  • And remember to always make sure to increase your level of physical activity gradually.

Check out our comprehensive list of what to bring and wear on a hike to make sure your walks are stress-free at all times.