Getting in Shape for A Hike

Getting in Shape for A Hike

Going for a hike isn’t always like going for a walk in the park. Most hiking trails have rough, rocky terrain, elevations to climb, and uneven ground. Being in condition can avoid injury and make the hike enjoyable. Here are some tips for getting in shape for a hike from Backpacker.

Basic Fitness

If you haven’t been active or just plain out of shape, there are some basic exercises you can do to strengthen those muscles and increase your heart rate.


1. Walk or Run in Sand – Ankle sprains and ankle rolling are two common hiking injuries. Walking or running in sand, say along a beach, will beef up ankle and knee muscles. Since sand adds more resistance than a hard surface, it requires more energy and effort to propel your body, according to Healthline. Also, sand gives you a softer landing and puts less stress on your ankles and knees.


2. Improve Mobility – Use a resistance band to improve the strength of your leg and knee extension. According to Prevention, resistance bands put less pressure on joints and can simultaneously target small and large muscle groups. Also, standing on a tennis ball or a balance disc also works for this since it strengthens the small muscles around your knee and ankle improving stability.


3. Building Core Strength – Crunches, squats, pushups, and lunges will build your core muscles that will help your balance on uneven terrain. When doing lunges and squats, perform them slowly while keeping your back straight. For lunges, hold equally weighing weights in both hands. While standing, step forward until both legs are bent at 90 degrees. Push yourself up, bringing rear foot forward. Repeat this procedure with the other leg.


4. Increase Back/Upper Body Strength – While pushups are great for building your core, they will help improve your back and upper body strength; something that you will appreciate when carrying a heavy backpack on a long hike.


5. Get That Heart Rate Up – Going for a brisk walk or hitting a stationary bike or treadmill are great cardio exercises. Cardio increases your lung capacity, so you won’t get as winded when going on a long hike or making your way up steep trails.

Take a Walk

Another way of getting in shape for a hike – including a day hike - is to go for a walk. In addition to exercises, take some long walks a few times a week through a park or just around your neighborhood. After all, a hike is a walk, it’s just more strenuous since you’re going up hills and over rocks on a rough trail. Wear a light backpack so you’ll get accustomed to carrying something on your back. Increase the backpack weight on subsequent walks.

Also, make sure you wear your hiking shoes, so you’ll get used to how they feel and, to break them in if you haven’t worn them much – or at all. Never venture on a hike without breaking in new shoes. Make sure they fit and feel good before hitting a trail.


Getting in shape for a hike is not the same for a multi-day backpacking trip. For this, you should train by placing weights, about 20 lbs. to start, in your backpack. Go to a park and repeatedly step up onto a bench that is 16 to 18-inches high. Add 5 lbs. each week until you’ve met the weight of what your backpack will be on the trip.

Preparing for a Mountain Hike

A mountain hike can be very strenuous and requires you to be in top condition. Steep climbs that take you into high altitudes with lower oxygen levels are not for the occasional hiker. You should perform the same training as for backpacking in addition to the basic fitness exercises.

Wear the Right Socks

It’s not only important to wear the right hiking shoes, but also to wear the correct socks. Hiking socks are imperative to keeping your feet dry and comfortable. The ideal hiking sock is  FlipSockz. This game-changing sock has a sleeve attached to the ankle that you can place over the top of your boot to keep out stones and dirt.


Did we mention how comfortable FlipSockz are? FlipSockz feature cushioning for the heel and ball of your foot and its blend of Merino Wool, Nylon, and Elastane keeps feet warm and wicks away moisture. Don’t wear just any sock for your hike. Wear FlipSockz.