Work out your legs
Before going on a hike, it is important to warm up your legs with a workout routine. You should start by walking for about 10 minutes at a slow pace. Once you’re warmed up, you can increase your speed and intensity. For example, you could do hill repeats in your neighborhood. Start with three or four climbs and jog back down. Work up to two workouts a week.
You can also work your glutes and hamstrings by doing bridges. This exercise targets the gluteal group, which is crucial to climbing hills. You can do these exercises on the floor or using free weights. When using free weights, be sure to lift them in a deadlift motion.
Another exercise that will help you prepare for hiking is the step down exercise. This exercise strengthens the primary muscles that are responsible for walking. It also boosts your cardiovascular system. To begin this exercise, stand on a step, curb, or stairway that is about eight inches high. Lift your left foot off of the step, pointing your toes towards the ceiling.
While this exercise is not as strenuous as it sounds, it will be effective in preparing your muscles for a hike. It is especially important to prepare your muscles for hiking by stretching and doing some strength training exercises. These will help you avoid injury, reduce your risk of strained muscles, and strengthen your entire body.
Invest in quality hiking boots
Investing in a good pair of hiking boots is an important part of preparing for a long hike. These footwear pieces can help you stay dry in wet weather and protect your feet from rocks and other trail debris. A good pair of hiking boots should also have a good amount of traction on different types of terrain. You should also look for outsoles with deep, widely spaced lugs, which provide superior traction on muddy terrain. Another important feature of the boot is its firm ankle collar.
You can buy hiking boots that range from inexpensive to expensive, but you should invest in quality ones if you are a regular hiker. You can try different pairs of hiking boots to determine which one suits your feet the best. A good pair of boots should feel comfortable and prevent your feet from slipping.
Hiking boots come in a variety of weights and sizes, so it’s important to buy a pair that fits properly. Check the toe space of the hiking boot so that your toes don’t jam. Also, try walking down the stairs or ramp to make sure the boot isn’t too tight. A tight pair may cause your heel to rub.
Wear insulating layers
When hiking in cold weather, it’s vital to wear several insulating layers. Your base layer should be a synthetic wicking long john or long underwear. Your mid-layer should be a down or synthetic jacket. The outermost layer of your gear should be a weather-proof hard shell jacket and pants. You can also add a warm hat and face mask.
Your base layer is the layer that sits closest to your skin and is designed to keep you dry. The fabric in this layer should fit snugly, but retain its insulating properties. Avoid cotton, which can lose warmth through evaporative cooling. You can also wear synthetic layers, but they tend to be less durable than wool or synthetic blends.
In the morning, you can wear three or four layers of clothing. You can also add a hat or gloves. Layers 2 and 3 can be removed during your hike if you’re already too warm. If it’s windy or very cold, you may want to wear your fourth layer only when you’ve set up camp or have extreme wind chill.
Your base layer should be made from wicking performance shirts and synthetic or wool long johns. Your mid-layer should be a windproof fleece or a lightweight wind jacket. Your outermost layer should be a water-resistant softshell.
Avoid cotton clothing
While cotton is often comfortable, experts say it isn’t the best fabric to wear when hiking. Cotton tends to absorb moisture, making it prone to chafing and blisters. The best clothing to wear on a long hike is quick-drying, water-resistant materials. But if you can’t avoid wearing cotton completely, there are still a few things you can do to protect yourself.
If you’re going hiking in colder climates, cotton can prevent you from regulating your body temperature. In this case, you’ll become hypothermic, which can lead to disorientation, even death. Even if the temperature is not below freezing, cotton can lead to hypothermia, which can be fatal if left untreated.
While cotton is the most popular material for hiking clothing, it has many downsides. It’s not as warm as synthetic materials and tends to absorb more moisture than it can dry. In addition to causing you to lose heat faster, cotton also weighs more than synthetic materials. During rest periods, cotton can make you sweat even more, so the best option is to avoid wearing it.
Cotton is also not the best material for winter hiking clothing. It absorbs moisture like a sponge and does not evaporate quickly. Moreover, the fibers in cotton will shrink when they become wet, so they’ll lose their insulating properties.
Protect your skin from sunburn
One of the most important things to do when hiking in the sun is to apply sunscreen to protect your skin. There are many types of sunscreen, and the best ones can range from lightweight to high SPF. To protect your skin while hiking, you should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This will protect your skin from both UVB and UVA rays, and it will also provide a calming effect.
Always wear sunscreen and hat when hiking. Apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin, including face. It is also best to wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and head. Wearing a hat will keep your face covered, but be aware that reflected sunlight can still burn your face. You should also wear a light-weight long-sleeve shirt to keep your body cool. Light-colored shirts will reflect heat better and allow perspiration to evaporate.
Aside from wearing sunscreen, you should also use insect repellant. Bug bites can irritate your skin and cause acne and spots. You should also carry calamine to soothe bug bites. Insect repellants are available in many varieties, and it is best to use natural ones to avoid chemicals.
Work on mental fortitude
Mental fortitude is the ability to push yourself through difficult situations. Developing mental fortitude before a hike is important for a healthy hiking experience. You can do this by engaging in practice hikes and focusing on building rapport with yourself. You can also try singing to yourself or smiling even during the toughest times. Mental fortitude is as important to hiking as physical endurance.
Mental fortitude can be strengthened through exercise, so make sure you spend time working out. Before a hike, try to think about what challenges you’ll face and what you can overcome by using mental fortitude. You can also look up different resources online, watch hiking videos or chat with people who have hiked before.
Mental fortitude also comes into play for hikers and hunters. A long hike or a long hunt may take days or even weeks. While you may be able to handle a neighborhood jog, a 30-mile mountain hike requires more mental fortitude. Try to consider all the factors that can affect your mental state before heading out on a long hike or hunting trip. If you’re worried about getting lost, you can always start by thinking about a few possible routes to get back to your destination.
Work on flexibility
Working on flexibility to prepare for a hike is a great way to avoid injury and increase your overall endurance. It also makes the recovery process much faster. The key is to stretch both your muscles and joints before and after the hike. Stretching the hamstrings and glutes before a hike will help prevent injury and improve your flexibility.
Practicing yoga and Pilates are excellent ways to build flexibility and balance. They also build strong muscles. When you’re new to these disciplines, look for a qualified instructor to get you started. You should gradually add effort to your workouts. For instance, in hiking, this can mean adding more miles and steeper hills, while in strength training, the effort may be the same as lifting heavier weights or doing more repetitions.
Performing hip exercises is another excellent way to prevent knee fatigue. Hikers often complain about knee problems, and strengthening hip muscles will help you prevent these issues. To get started, imagine yourself as the center of a clock and lift your right leg up to 12 o’clock. Then, bring it back down to the center. Repeat this three or four times, and you should be ready to hike.