Top 3 Warm Up Moves To Do Before a Hike

Have you been bundled up inside all winter? Excited to get back to outdoor activities in the sunshine? Making sure to prepare the body for activity with a proper warm up is very important for injury prevention and an overall enjoyable experience. As temperatures heat up many people like to take their workouts outside in the form of a long walk or hike. This could be anything from a leisurely stroll through nature to an intense climb to the summit of a mountain. No matter which you choose, it is always important to prepare your body with a proper warm up prior to starting.

Why is it important to warm up?

Many people think that warming up is overrated and unnecessary, some declare they don't have time, and others just simply don't know what to do (that's where I come in, keep reading!). Regardless what sport or activity you are about to take part in, it is always important to prepare your body properly.

Here are 3 reasons why you should always warm up:

  • Injury prevention

This does not mean that if you perform a warm up prior to your hike there is a 100% guarantee not to get hurt; however, it will reduce the risk greatly. Getting the heart, muscles, and joints ready for the activity about to be performed will help prevent common injuries. Some of these common injuries include muscle tears/pulls, tendon strains, or ligament sprains. If muscle tendons and joint ligaments are cold at the start of activity, which is at a fairly fast pace (forcing muscles to produce a lot of power right out of the gate), the result could be injury due to an increased strain on the soft tissue.
  • Feel better and perform better during the activity

Blood flow to skeletal muscles is only about 15-20 percent while sitting down, but after approximately 10 minutes of exercise that skeletal muscle blood flow increases to approximately 70 percent. Not only does exercise promote increased blood flow, it also increases muscle temperature and oxygen available to working muscles. This will all result in better performance, less muscle stiffness, and an overall better feeling while exercising.
  • Prevent muscle soreness post-workout

If limited activity was performed over the winter, it is almost expected that stiff muscles are in the cards after the first hike or outdoor activity this summer. Performing a proper warm-up (like the one listed below) and some static stretches post-activity can have a huge impact in reducing the amount of muscle soreness you experience.

What would be considered a proper warm up?

There are many different types of warm up moves and techniques, which are usually determined by the type of activity about to be performed. In general a good warm up would be any type of movement that increases the heart rate and warms the muscles and joints about to be used in that particular activity. For example, if you are getting ready to embark on a hike one would want to focus on lower body and core exercises during warm up; whereas, a warm up prior to canoeing should include muscles of the upper body, lower body, and core.

Now let's get into the actual warm up

Here are 3 must-do warm up moves for the best hike:

This warm up will only take about 5-10 minutes and will be well worth it in the end. 1. Forward Leg Swings

Stand alongside and put a hand on a wall, chair, or even tree and swing your outside leg forwards and backwards keeping your upper body straight and eyes straight ahead. Perform 15 swings per leg

2. Butt Kicks and High Knees

You can perform either of these moving forward or on the spot, but make sure you start out slow and then slowly increase your speed. Try to perform 5 per leg at a slower pace and then 15 per leg a little bit faster of each. For the butt kicks, stay on the balls of your feet while flexing your knees and kicking your heels to your bum. Then for the high knees just like exaggerated marching keep your body and legs in line. Take a big step forward and drive one of your knees up while going up on to your toe of the opposite foot. Almost like a slow motion exaggerated run and make sure you get your arms involved just like while running.

3. Squat to Hip Flexor

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lower your bum down into a squat, as if you are sitting back in a chair making sure your knees stay behind your toes. While in a squat position bring one leg back so you are in a lunge position. Keep your hips pushed forward so you feel stretch in the front of your hips and then return to standing position and repeat with the other leg for 10 reps per leg.


Don't forget to fuel your body properly before a hike with a healthy balanced meal, bring snacks with you (depending on the length and intensity of your hike), and drink lot's of water before, during, and after your hike to stay hydrated!

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