Eight Top Tips for Preparing for a Hike

So, you want escape the big cities and do something different this holiday?

Thinking about taking on a physical challenge like a hike or a summit?  

Amber - Mt Kinabalu

With the rising trends in active holidays, you might be wondering where to start in prepare your body for such an awesome challenge.  Amber Higgins, NSTT Myotherapist, has recently returned from climbing Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo and she has some tips on how to prepare yourself for the amazing challenge ahead...

1. Preparation is crucial so prepare an exercise training plan which includes plenty of stretching, foam rolling and soft tissue maintenance to keep the lead-up as exciting as the big event.  Schedule in some big walks or hikes along the way increasing distance and intensity gradually.

2. Include lots of outdoor training in varied terrain.  Find fun community events in and around Melbourne to form part of your training program.  Fundraising events will give you an opportunity to train for your trip and give back to a great cause. As part of the preparation for Borneo, Amber took part in the 35km Bloody Long Walk fundraiser for MND.  This was a physical and mental challenge, but so rewarding as well.

3. You can also include some indoor training such as strength work and simulated movement patterns in the gym - think weighted lunges and box step-ups.

4. Regular Soft Tissue Therapy treatment is vital as part of your preparation in order to decrease the muscle soreness that you're bound to experience when increasing physical activity. Common injuries to knees and ankles can be prevented with regular soft tissue work.  The repetitive nature of downhill trekking or the rough and rocky terrain cannot be avoided, but strength & preparation for all muscles that move the hip, knee and ankle will ensure better stability and endurance.

5. Proper cool down and stretching after each training session will reduce the severity of muscle soreness. Use a foam roller to break down adhesions through the glutes, quads, hamstrings, adductors and lower leg.  Focus your attention on those really uncomfortable spots until they melt away.

6. Footwear will either make or break your experience! Investing in a professionally fitted, supportive pair of hiking boots and several pairs of technical socks will provide stability and protection where it's needed most.  A Podiatrist can assist you with footwear advice and assessments as well as blister management and biomechanics issue along the way.

7. Carefully consider and plan your nutrition and hydration.  Get advice from experienced hikers and experts.  Ensure that you hydrate well before, during and after a hike.  And avoid making any significant changes to your nutrition before or during a long hike - save the experiments for shorter training walks!

8. Most importantly, have fun with your training! Recruit friends or family to join you with your preparation adventures, you never know, perhaps you’ll make new friends who are training for similar challenges.

At Nunawading Soft Tissue Therapies we can help you prepare an individualised treatment program to help you achieve your specific goals. We work closely with teams preparing for the Oxfam Trailwalker 100km event each year, through to athletes training for ultra-marathons or personal hikes.  We get so much satisfaction seeing our athletes accomplish enormous personal challenges and we'd love to help you do the same!

Article written by Amber Higgins, Myotherapist and experienced hiker