How To Get In Shape For Hiking (Find OUT)

As an avid hiker and runner, I know just how difficult it is to get in shape for hiking. The trails can be unforgiving, but with a little preparation you can conquer them with ease. 

Here are some tips for getting ready for your next big hike:

How to Get in Shape & Stay in Shape for Hikers & Backpackers

Sure, here’s the takeaway table based on the titles:

How to Get in Shape for Hiking – Find Out!
How to Pack Your Hiking Backpack Like a Pro
Tips on How to Avoid Ticks While Hiking
Expert Advice on How to Dress for Hiking
How to Train for Hiking: Pro Tips
Complete Guide on How to Hike the Appalachian Trail

Start Walking

Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Start slow and build up. If you haven’t been active for a while or haven’t exercised regularly, start off with a 10-minute brisk walk every day. That might seem like nothing at first, but it will add up over time!

Even if you have been active recently, take it easy and don’t push yourself too hard start out with a 5-minute warmup walk (at an easy pace), then work up to 15 minutes of aerobic activity at about 60% of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes total per day. 

If you want to get more intense cardio in there, feel free! Just remember that this is supposed to be fun not punishment! 

Try not to worry too much about how fast or far you go; just try doing something active every day so that by the end of the week, those 30 minutes add up nicely toward being fit enough for hiking.

To ensure you have everything you need for your next hiking trip, check out this guide on how to pack your hiking backpack like a pro. Get tips on what essential items to pack and how to properly distribute the weight for a comfortable hike.

Be Careful With The Running

Running is a great way to get in shape, but it also has the potential to cause injury. A lot of runners get hurt because they don’t respect these limitations:

  • Don’t do too much running. Running more than 10 miles per week can lead to injuries and burn out.
  • Don’t run on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt, which puts more stress on your joints than soft surfaces like grass and dirt do.
  • Don’t run on hills or stairs; your knees won’t be happy! You can do stairs if they are shallow enough that you don’t have to bend your knees much (like a flight of 3 stairs). If at all possible, avoid any exercises with pain in them!

Pay Attention To Your Body

Your body will tell you when you need a break. Listen to it! If your feet feel like lead and every step hurts, take a break for just a few minutes. 

You don’t have to sit down right on the trail find some shade or even just step off the path into tall grass or bushes so that your back won’t get sunburned while resting. 

It’s important not to push through pain when hiking, because this can lead to injury or exhaustion later on in the trip.

If you’re thirsty, drink water! Your body doesn’t always tell us it’s thirsty until we start getting dehydrated, which can make us feel lightheaded and fuzzy-headed (and worse). 

And believe me: if you keep drinking after being hungry for too long without food in your system, then those hunger pangs will turn into stomach aches in no time flat! 

So if I’m about halfway through my hike and start feeling like there isn’t much energy left in my tank anymore but I’m still not hungry enough yet either…then guess what? 

That means I’ve got about another hour’s worth of hiking ahead of me before lunchtime rolls around again!

Hiking in tick-infested areas can be risky. Protect yourself by reading our expert’s guide on how to avoid ticks while hiking and learn about the proper attire and precautions you should take to stay safe from tick bites.

Do A Few Squats Every Day

You can probably take care of this one on your own. All you need is a pair of dumbbells or some weight plates, and you’re set. 

If you don’t have either, just go ahead and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or lower if you’re feeling up for it). 

If that sounds like too much exercise at once, there’s a way around it: instead of lowering all the way down while keeping weight in your hands, try slowly dropping into position from standing up straight with arms outstretched in front of you and then moving back up again. Repeat ten times for best results!

Always Engage Your Core

Core strength is important for hikers, as it helps to stabilize the body and support the back. You can engage your core by doing exercises like planks, crunches and bridges. 

While you’re hiking, make sure to keep your back straight and shoulders down at a 45-degree angle from your hips. 

This will help keep your body in alignment and prevent injury if you slip or trip on rocks or roots along the trail.

Dressing appropriately for a hike is crucial to your comfort and safety. Refer to our expert’s guide on how to dress for hiking to get a better understanding of the important factors to consider when choosing your hiking attire, and learn how to stay dry, comfortable, and safe on the trails.

Develop Balance And Stability

To get the most out of your hiking experience, you’ll want to develop balance and stability. This will help you walk up and down hills with ease, as well as prevent injury from falls on uneven ground or slippery rocks. 

The following exercises will help build up these skills:

Practice standing on one foot for 10 seconds at a time. Rest for about 30 seconds between attempts and repeat this exercise four times per day for two weeks.

Stand on an unstable surface such as yoga blocks or foam pads (pictured below). Hold onto something sturdy if it helps; otherwise, move slowly so that maintaining your balance is challenging but not impossible. Repeat this exercise three times per day for four weeks

Build Up To Long Walks

When it comes to getting in shape for hiking, you don’t have to do a lot of difficult training from the get-go. It’s better to build up to long walks gradually. 

Start with short walks and increase the distance slowly so that your body can get used to it. Walk for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week. If you want even more benefits from walking, try doing an uphill walk once a week as well. 

Don’t overdo it though! Always listen to how your body feels during these sessions and if something doesn’t feel right or hurts at all – stop immediately!

After every walk make sure that you also stretch out properly as this keeps muscles supple and reduces the risk of injury when going on longer hikes later on in life!

Hiking can be a strenuous activity, but with the right training, you can conquer those uphill trails with ease. Take a look at our guide on how to train for hiking and learn how to increase your endurance, strength, and flexibility with some simple, yet effective exercises that are tailored specifically for hikers.

A Little Bit Of Running Goes A Long Way

Running is a great way to get your body used to the idea of hiking. It’s also a great way to build up your endurance and leg strength, which are two things you’ll need if you want to hike for more than a few hours at a time.

If you’re new to running, then it’s important not to overdo it at first don’t run more than three miles in one session until you’ve had several weeks or months of training under your belt. 

And make sure that every session ends with some sort of stretching routine (even if it’s just five minutes) so that muscles don’t shorten and become tight during workouts.

Don’t Forget Strength Training

Strength training is important for hiking, and keeping your muscles strong will help you avoid injury. 

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 perform resistance and strengthening exercises two or three times a week. 

Weight lifting can be done using free weights, machines at the gym or one of those little rubber dumbbells that look like pool toys. 

The key is to challenge your muscles by using enough weight to tire them out within 8–12 reps per set (that’s one movement from start position through full extension). 

If you can do more than 12 reps without resting, increase the amount of weight until you reach that point.

Embarking on the epic journey of hiking the Appalachian Trail can be a dream come true for many outdoor enthusiasts. Get familiar with the challenges, logistics, and some most useful insights by reading our complete guide on how to tackle the Appalachian Trail and learn what it takes to make this incredible hiking experience a reality.

Improve Your Posture To Prevent Injuries

Poor posture can lead to all sorts of problems, from back pain to joint injuries. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to improve your posture by strengthening the muscles that keep your spine in alignment.

To ensure the best possible hiking experience, it’s imperative that we take steps now to prevent injuries caused by poor posture. In this section, we’ll discuss how you can do just that!

While most people have heard about the importance of maintaining proper posture throughout the day and taking breaks from sitting at work or behind a computer screen (so everyone knows: I’m not one of them), many aren’t aware that hiking is just as much about paying attention to what you’re doing with your body as any other activity. 

Hiking requires plenty of strength in some muscles while putting minimal stress on others but if those opposing muscle groups aren’t properly aligned through correct posture, 

Hikers are more likely than average people who sit at desks all day long every day for years on end without breaks until they’re fired/retired because no one wants them anymore/can’t afford their salary anymore because they’ve been working there too long anyway so why keep paying someone who doesn’t contribute anything worthwhile?

Sure, here’s the table based on the semantic of the point “Improve Your Posture To Prevent Injuries”:

Exercises to Improve Your Posture:

PlankTargets the core muscles that support the spine, helping to improve posture and reduce strain on the lower back.
Scapular RetractionStrengthens the upper back muscles and improves shoulder posture, reducing the risk of neck and shoulder injuries.
Wall AngelHelps to prevent rounded shoulders and strengthen the upper back muscles, improving spinal alignment and reducing pain.
Glute BridgeStrengthens the glutes, lower back, and hip muscles, which all contribute to good posture and alignment.
Standing Cat-Cow StretchImproves spinal mobility and helps to reduce stiffness and pain in the neck and upper back.

Do Yoga For Better Breathing And Relaxation

Yoga is not only a great way to improve your breathing, but it can also help you relax and de-stress. Yoga can also help you sleep better, and it’s been shown to reduce back pain.

While there are many benefits of yoga I’ve just listed, here’s why this is important for hiking: improving your breathing will help you breathe more easily during strenuous hikes (like climbing up hills), helping with fatigue because you’re using less energy than usual. 

It’ll also improve the amount of oxygen reaching your muscles which will make it easier for them to perform at peak levels when needed!

Take Walks In Your Neighborhood

The most important thing you can do for yourself and for the planet is to walk more often. What if you could walk just 10 minutes more each day? In just a year’s time, that would add up to over 100 hours of walking! 

When you go on hikes and treks, you’ll find that walking is one of the best ways to enjoy nature and get some exercise at the same time.

Take walks with friends, family members or even pets; try taking different routes every day so it feels like a new adventure every time! You can also take walks when traveling or exploring new places as well.

Sure, here’s the table based on the semantic of the point “Take Walks In Your Neighborhood”:

Benefits of Walking in Your Neighborhood:

Burns CaloriesWalking just 30 minutes a day can burn up to 150 calories, helping you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Boosts MoodWalking outdoors in nature can boost your mood and reduce stress and anxiety, promoting mental health and wellbeing.
Improves Heart HealthRegular walking can improve cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
Saves MoneyWalking in your neighborhood is a budget-friendly way to stay active and explore your community without the need for expensive gym memberships or equipment.
Reduces Environmental ImpactBy walking instead of driving, you reduce your carbon footprint and help to protect the environment.

Consider A Treadmill Desk

You can use a treadmill desk for as long as you want, but if you’re interested in hiking with a pack and steep terrain, consider walking or running on the treadmill while wearing your pack. 

This will help increase your body’s ability to handle the weight of all your gear while also increasing strength and endurance.

If you choose to wear your pack while walking or running, be sure to keep your core engaged and stay upright when possible, rather than letting the pack pull at your shoulders.

Find Some Hiking Buddies

The next step is to find some hiking buddies. This can be a friend, coworker or even a family member. The key here is to find someone with similar fitness goals and interests as you. 

They need to have the same energy level as yourself so that the hike will not be too easy for them or too hard for you. 

You should also make sure that your hiking buddy is supportive and encouraging during your training process because it can get challenging at times!

Sure, here’s the table based on the semantic of the point “Find Some Hiking Buddies”:

Tips for Finding Hiking Buddies:

Join Hiking GroupsOnline and local hiking groups are a great way to meet like-minded individuals who share your passion for hiking.
Ask Friends and FamilyReach out to your friends and family to see if they would be interested in joining you on a hike, or if they know someone who would be.
Attend Hiking MeetupsAttend organized hiking meetups in your area that are geared towards connecting hikers and exploring new trails together.
Use Social MediaConnect with the hiking community on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to network and find potential hiking buddies.
Check Local Trail CentersCheck with your local trail or nature center to see if they offer any hiking clinics or events where you can meet other hikers and make new connections.

Take The Stairs

If you take the elevator at work, try to take it just one or two floors and then head on up the stairs. 

You’ll be surprised how many calories you can burn by doing that simple change in habit. It’s also a good idea to walk up at least one flight of stairs every day, whether or not you plan on hiking later that day.

Get some friends involved!

It’s easier for some people than others to get into shape for hiking, but if someone else is looking forward to a hike as much as you are (or more), it’s a great motivator! 

Try asking your friends if there are any trails near where they live so that you can all start training together before hiking season starts again in springtime and make sure everyone knows they’ll have support along the way so nobody gets discouraged from quitting early on account of being out-of-shape!

Do Some Strength Training Before Hitting The Trail

Strength training is a great non-equipment way to get in shape. It increases muscle mass, which boosts your resting metabolism and burns more calories over time. 

Strength training also improves posture and balance, which can help prevent injuries on the trail.

In addition to lifting weights, there are many other strength training exercises that can be done with just your body weight or even some household items like hand towels or medicine balls. Some examples include push-ups, lunges, squats, planks and burpees.

Include Balance Work In Your Weekly Routine

Balance exercises are important for hikers because you’ll be hiking on unstable surfaces, and you want to be sure that your muscles and joints are prepared for the challenge. 

Balance work can include balance boards, standing on one foot while moving the other leg forward or back, and doing single-leg squats. 

These exercises should be done every day without fail in order to make sure that your body is ready for hiking.

Include balance work in your weekly routine:

Stand on one foot while holding onto a wall or sturdy object with both hands. Hold this position for as long as possible before swapping legs and trying again (you may need to lower down slightly). Repeat this exercise 20 times per day until it becomes easy!

Stand parallel with the floor (feet together) and practice lifting one leg off the ground without letting it touch any surface below before putting it back down again; repeat 20 times per day until this is easy too!

Stretch Those Hamstrings

Stretching is one of the most important things you can do to prevent injury, so it’s worth learning how to do it properly. 

You should stretch before, during and after exercise, but you don’t have to spend 30 minutes on a daily routine when you’re starting out in fact, overstretching can be counterproductive.

 Instead of going for a long jog or intense workout session every day after work, aim for three sessions per week with rest days in between.

First warm up by walking briskly or jogging around the block for 10 minutes.

Then stretch your hamstrings by lying on your back with both legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise one leg up toward your chest until you feel a gentle pull in that hamstring muscle (don’t jerk). 

Hold this position for 20 seconds while breathing normally; then return to starting position before repeating with other leg. 

Don’t bounce! Hold each stretch at least 20 seconds but don’t overstretch! Repeat five times per side (10 total).

Next stretch your quadriceps by standing tall and holding onto something stable like a countertop or railing if necessary (this will help keep balance). 

Keep one knee slightly bent as you slowly lower down into a deep lunge position; keep hips square and knee aligned over foot throughout movement; hold static stretch at bottom position 8-10 seconds while breathing normally; return slowly back up then repeat 5-8 times total depending on ability level

Have Healthy Snacks At The Ready For Long Hikes.

As you continue to prepare for your hike, keep in mind that having the right snacks at the ready can make all the difference. 

You’ll want to choose snacks that are high in protein and low in sugar, as well as easy to carry (for example, trail mix). 

Since they’re not going to be digested immediately, it’s important that they also have high fiber levels so they can keep you full longer. Additionally, they should include vitamins and minerals and as much water content as possible! You’ll want these foods to be rich in energy so that you don’t lose steam before reaching your destination or during your climb back down.

Increase Your Core Strength With Crunches, Planks And Side Planks

Core exercises are a great way to build the strength you need to support your body on a long hike. Try doing crunches and planks in addition to side planks.

A crunch is when you lie face down on the floor, tuck your feet under something (like a chair or coffee table), and raise your upper body off the ground until it’s parallel with your thighs. 

Hold for one count at the top, then slowly lower yourself back down without letting any part of your body touch the ground. Repeat 10 times for three sets total in each session; take a day off between sessions if desired.

A plank is similar to crunches but involves keeping both hands and feet planted on the floor instead of propping yourself up on an object like furniture or another person’s body parts (like heads). 

Here are instructions for how to do one correctly:

Lie face down with arms straight out in front of you; keep legs together and extended behind yourself so they’re parallel with each other as well as perpendicular with torso/spine/backbone thingamabobberys (this makes sense once you actually try it). 

Your butt should be raised slightly from floor; don’t round shoulders forward or arch them back too far so that neck muscles get sore from looking up all day long at clouds instead learning how much fun hiking can be! Make sure head stays aligned over spine throughout exercise.”


If you’re looking to improve your fitness level, the best thing you can do is start walking. If that isn’t possible, then try jogging or running on a regular basis. 

This will help increase your endurance and build strength in your upper body as well as lower body. 

You’ll also want to focus on improving your posture so that you can avoid injuries like back pain or shin splints. It’s important not only for hiking but also everyday life!

Sure, here’s the markdown language for the Further Reading section and FAQs section:

Further Reading:

How to Get in Shape for Hiking: Discover tips and advice on how to prepare your body for different hiking types and terrains, including cardio and strength training exercises.

Training for Hiking: 9 Ways to Get in Shape: Learn about different training techniques and exercises that can help you improve your hiking endurance, strength, balance, and more.

Hiking Training: Expert Advice: Get insights from REI’s experts on how to develop a training plan that works for you based on your goals, experience level, and time availability.


How long does it take to get in shape for hiking?

Getting in shape for hiking varies from person to person and depends on several factors such as current fitness level, age, and the difficulty level of the hike. However, with regular exercise and training, it is possible to notice a significant improvement in your hiking fitness within six to eight weeks.

What kind of exercises are best for hiking training?

The best exercises for hiking training are those that improve your cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, balance, and flexibility. These can include walking, hiking, running, cycling, strength training, yoga, and Pilates.

How often should I train for hiking?

The frequency of your hiking training depends on your goals, availability, and fitness level. Generally, it’s recommended to train at least three times a week, including one longer hike and one strength training session.

What should I wear for hiking?

Wearing appropriate clothing and footwear is crucial to staying comfortable and safe on the trails. Choose breathable, moisture-wicking layers, a hat, sunglasses, and sturdy, waterproof boots or shoes that fit well and provide good traction.

How can I prevent injury while hiking?

Preventing injuries while hiking involves proper preparation, technique, and equipment. Make sure to warm up and stretch before your hike, pace yourself, and use good form when walking or climbing. Avoid overpacking your backpack, and invest in supportive footwear and trekking poles to help reduce the impact on your joints.