How to prepare your body for a hike

Don’t let the end of Summer spoil your outdoor adventures. Autumn is the best time of the year to get out and explore some of Victoria’s best hiking spots.

Here is how I prepared to summit three mountains in three states in 33 hours...

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  • Set a goal: The easiest way to stay motivated is to set achievable goals. Early on you might want to complete the 1000 steps without stopping for a break or schedule (and attend) a hike once a month. There are a multitude of outdoor events on the outskirts of Melbourne, along the coastline or in the countryside that you can train for.
     
  • Train the terrain of your goal: If you want to walk along a coastline on sandy terrain, no amount of walking on pavement around your streets will prepare your feet, ankles, knees and calves for soft and sandy surfaces. Get to the beach and practise what you want to achieve. Similarly, if you want to climb a mountain, find some steep hills and mountains to get used to the climb.
     
  • Join of form a hiking group: Gather your friends and make a date of it. If you don’t have a network of people that would enjoy the great outdoors, find an existing group of explorers to join. Many existing hiking groups have well organised bus transfers to/from the events, social meetings and information nights.
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  • Consider appropriate fuel and water: How much will you need to carry? Start training with a backpack as early as possible and build the weight up slowly. A well-fitted backpack with lumbar support to reduce the load from your shoulders is recommended.
  • Have regular soft tissue treatments: This will ensure that you are working most effectively and catch any niggles before they can manifest into an injury. Your therapist can advise you on a list of stretches and strength exercises specifically designed for your body, but the following few exercises are helpful to get you started.
     
  • Look after your feet:  They do plenty of the hard work out on the trails, so it's vital to look after your feet. It is a great idea to have your boots fitted by a professional to ensure you get the appropriate level of ankle support, flexibility and cushioning. Most major hiking and outdoor stores will have someone on hand to help and Podiatrist can also give you some great advice. Appropriate technical socks will prevent blisters and protect your feet. Take a look at this handy sock advice, written by our Podiatry team.

  • Compliment your training with strength exercises:

Glute Strength - Clams

 Clams - Stage One

Clams - Stage One

 Clams - Stage Two

Clams - Stage Two

Core Strength - Roll Downs

 Roll Downs - Stage One

Roll Downs - Stage One

 Roll Downs - Stage Two

Roll Downs - Stage Two

 Roll Downs - Stage Three

Roll Downs - Stage Three

Calf Strength - Eccentric load on Step

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  • Stretch and Recover
 Foam Roll - Quads

Foam Roll - Quads

 Foam Roll - Calves

Foam Roll - Calves

 Seated Glute Stretch

Seated Glute Stretch

Now that you are armed with motivation, knowledge on recovery and exercises to do between hikes and confident in choosing the correct gear, its time to hit the hills!

Remember the most important thing is to have fun and stay tuned for a Nunawading Soft Tissue community hike coming soon!