Exercises That Help You Train For Hiking

By Athlete's Care on November 10, 2022

Many of the clients at our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics come to us for advice on exercise and staying fit.

Hiking is a rewarding and fun activity that you can take anywhere you go and enjoy all year round – at least potentially. It can also be quite demanding, depending on the terrain. But, don’t let that hold you back.

Hiking builds:

  • Muscular strength;
  • Cardiovascular endurance.

Hiking also requires:

  • Muscular strength;
  • Cardiovascular endurance.

In other words, you'll need to reach a certain level of fitness to be able to enjoy your hike – both before and after. If you’re just starting out, or getting back into it after a time away, here are some tips on training to work your way up to hiking wherever the passion strikes you, or to keep in hiking shape if you prefer to wait out the winter.

Remember: If you’re just starting to become physically active for the first time, or after a lengthy sedentary period, you should consult your Toronto physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist for an evaluation. They can design a regimen that focuses on your individual areas of interest.

Including specific exercises in your regimen to build the muscles you'll use hiking will bring you closer to your goals when to endurance, speed, and agility.

Think about starting your training 8 weeks before your first major hike.

It's all about the legs

Strong legs will get you where you want to go when it comes to hiking. One of the easiest ways to help get into hiking shape is by using something almost everyone has access to: stairs.

  • You'll definitely want to start with walking – stair running is a high intensity workout;
  • Be sure you’re using the glutes and muscles of the back of the leg to push up – and not your knees;
  • Begin with taking them one at a time, then alternate with two steps at a time;
  • Start with 10 steps, then a two minute rest, then repeat;
  • Work your way up slowly.

Some other recommended exercises include:

  • Squats – they use the hamstrings and other larger muscles of the leg, as well as the glutes, and jump squats and other variations can ramp up the level of difficulty – and gains – when you're ready;
  • Side planks and leg raises – they work both the core and key leg muscles.;
  • Step-ups – stretching the muscles at the back of the leg;
  • Lunges – both uphill and downhill to stretch and tone;
  • Weights – kettlebells and other small weights are ideal for deadlifts that really work the hamstrings.

But...don't forget the core

Building a solid core is also essential. It's crucial when it comes to maintaining balance, and by extension, avoiding injuries. You’ll also need a strong core to support your backpack.

  • Yoga and Pilates can help build strong torso muscles.
  • Also: don't forget to stretch, including 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching before, and the same amount of time in static stretches after.

Add an aerobic activity of choice to build cardiovascular capacity, and in a couple of months, you should be able to hit the trails with confidence.

If you need advice on your exercise regimen that’s catered to your condition and lifestyle, our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists are here to help. Call one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today for a consultation.