Calling All Hikers: Important Warm-Up Exercises and Tips
It is officially summer! We are excited to hit the trails as the weather gets warmer. Whether going to the Grouse Grind, Dog mountain or Tunnel Bluffs, it is essential to warm up your muscles before a hike. An excellent dynamic warm-up for 5-10 minutes will increase your heart rate and body temperature, loosen up your joints and improve blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, ultimately decreasing your risk of injury.
Some general tips to make your hiking experience as pleasant as possible:
Adequate water: Besides carrying a water bottle for the hike, also bring extra water to leave in your car. This way, if you run out of water at the end, the hike won’t dehydrate you because you have more in the car! And there is no such thing as too much H2O
Food: Bring snacks to enjoy at the top! You won’t regret it.
Footwear: Wear supportive and comfortable footwear. Make sure you’re not wearing brand-new hiking boots for the first time on a hike. To prevent blisters, try to break them in by going on walks for a few weeks before using them for hiking. Learn from my mistake.
Backpack: Use a comfortable backpack with a chest and hip strap. These straps transfer the weight of your bag from your shoulders to your hips, making your pack feel lighter.
Hat/Sunblock: Bring sunscreen and a hat just in case the sun rays get intense. It’s better to be overly prepared than under-prepared!
Pacing: Slow and steady wins the race!
Take short breaks for 2-3 minutes every 20-30 minutes to drink water or stretch. Avoid extended breaks (over 5 minutes) as your body may start to cool down.
When descending, ensure you always keep a slight bend in your knees as this absorbs shock better and saves your knees!
Here are my three go-to warm-up exercises before a hike. Ensure you complete ten reps for each activity, back-to-back without resting. This technique, called “super-set or circuit training,” helps increase and maintain your heart rate. After one circuit, rest for 1-2 minutes, then repeat the circuit for two sets.
Exercise #1:Leg swings
Swing your leg forward and back for ten reps, then sideways for ten reps. This exercise aims to warm up and stretch the hip muscles, preparing them for your hike.
Exercise #2:High openers
(10 Reps on each side) High openers are a great mobility exercise to open up the hips.
Exercise #3:Lateral lunges
(Hold for 2 seconds, ten reps on each side). An excellent exercise to feel a stretch on the inside of your thigh. Also, wakes up and activate your quadriceps and glutes on the other side.
Now that you are all warmed up, you’re ready to conquer the mountains!