How to Physically Prepare for Your First Long Hike

Written by Wendy Tucker

Hiking is a great activity. Many people enjoy it, and they should. It’s healthy, good for both your body and mind, and above all else it is a great way to get away from everything. But, one thing you should never do – don’t underestimate the hike. By no means it is an easy feat. Of course, short distances can be covered by almost anyone. But, what we’re talking about are those long hikes, intended for the true nature goers. Are you one of those who excel in this field, or this is your first long hike?

If you belong to the latter group, you have come to the right place. Going on a long hike is not for everyone. It is not, and you need to be prepared for it. Professionals in this domain know what we’re talking about. But, as we see you as beginners and amateurs who never had a long hike, we’re about to give you a helping hand with this article. Let us tell you a few things about how to physically prepare for your first long hike. We’re not going to try and put you down with this preparation, but you need to be aware of what’s needed of you. After all, you’re putting your body on the line. Let’s see what we have in store for you.

Start From the Basics

Hiking is not a novelty in the world of sports activities. No, it has been around for some time, so you can educate yourself on how to get prepared. The first thing you need to take care of is your cardiovascular fitness, and more on that you can find here. If you want to go through the basics before committing to serious training follow our lead.

As we said, much of it is known about hiking so it’s no wonder some of the preparation for it is quite simple. At first, it’s all about walking and running. If you have a beach nearby it would be ideal to do this in the sand. After that, you need to make sure that your body can move. Yes, the motion is all that’s hiking about, and you need to ensure that your body is stable and flexible at the same time. The range of motions necessary for hiking is vast, and you can never be too prepared.

The workouts that can help you with this are also quite basic. In addition to walking and running, you can start with crunches, lunges, and squats before you move on to the push-ups and more demanding cardio. As you can see your entire body matters when it comes to hiking. You need to have strength in your legs, back, and hands. Yes, preparation for a long hike requires you to put into motion your entire body. Of course, you shouldn’t also forget about step-ups.

Hiking will have a lot of it, and you’d be wise to work on them. It is an easy workout in terms that you can do it in your local park. Step-ups are better done with an additional load on your back, considering that you’ll be carrying a backpack with you.

Don’t Skip The Leg Day


Most athletes know this. But we know you’re not an athlete, and that’s why you’re reading this article. In most sports legs are important. Legwork is vital in football, soccer, basketball, and many other activities. Hiking is no different. You must have your legs prepared for a long hike. If you want to enjoy it to the fullest your legs need to be in form. It is quite logical. Hiking is done mostly with your legs. This is why you need to have your focus on them.

Going to the gym could be a great idea, but you could also get prepared at home among exercises that can be done at home including calf-rises, squats, and lunges. We already mentioned this in one paragraph above but when it comes to hiking and legs we need to emphasize it. Other activities that can aid in this include swimming, walking, running on an inclined treadmill, and riding a bike.

Take Your Time

This is vital for every hiker out there. You can’t do anything in a short amount of time when it comes to hiking. Let’s think about it. It is going to be a long hike, so how can you prepare in a short amount of time? It’s impossible. If you’re an amateur in hiking you shouldn’t rush yourself toward a long hike without proper preparation. It will take you from three weeks to three months to get a workout routine right. In that period, your fitness will improve. But, you need to think beyond that. If your hike is in three months, you should have started preparing three months ago. Don’t leave anything to chance.

Prepare For a Day, Train For a Week


It is not wise to directly prepare for a long hike. One of the best ways to prepare for hiking is to hike regularly. This is why it is important to go on hiking regularly. So, while you’re getting a longer hike, you should do daily ones on regular basis. Like we said. Use one week of preparation for a day of hiking.

As time moves on you’ll be in better shape and you could do this for a prolonged amount of time. Now, we don’t know for how long of a hike you’re preparing for, but for example, hiking on Kilimanjaro takes up from five to ten days. If you’re preparing for a hike this long, that is quite hard to conquer, you’re better off starting with daily hikes at your local mountain.

It’s all about preparation. Start with simple walks with your backpack a few times a week. It doesn’t have to last for longer than thirty minutes. Do a one-day hike on the weekend. As time passes up the game. A few weekends after that spend a two-day weekend hiking. The more you do this the readier you’ll be for the long hike you’re anticipating.


Wendy Tucker


34  −  30  =