Hiking | 6 warm-ups for injury prevention

Are you one of those hikers who do not bother to warm up? It is key for injury prevention. Try these 6 exercises before hiking to warm up your muscles.

warm up before a hike

Good to know: before you go hiking, and before even warming up, consult your doctor if necessary to make sure this sport is appropriate in relation to your overall health. Never overdo it when warming up and listen to your body. Consult your doctor if in any doubt.

The neck

Be careful when warming your neck not to tilt your head too far backwards. Move slowly or you have risk of injury, which would be a shame before even hiking!

Relax your shoulders and tuck your chin in toward your chest while breathing out, then tilt your head gently backwards while breathing in, and repeat 20 times.

Do the same thing while looking sideways, first left then right, 10 times each side.

Finally, circle your head 10 times in one direction then in the other, as slowly as before and without tilting the head too far.

warm up before a hike

The upper body

Tip: to make sure you don’t forget anything before hiking, begin your injury-prevention warm-up by the upper body and gradually move downwards to end with your feet.

The shoulders

Stand with your legs slightly apart, your arms against your body, and move your left shoulder in a circle 10 times, first in one direction then the other.

Repeat with the other shoulder.

Finally, finish with 10 circles in one direction then in the other with both shoulders at the same time, inhaling and exhaling deeply

warm up before a hike

The back

For the back hiking injury-prevention warm-up, stand with one foot in front of the other, about one imaginary foot apart, as if you were balancing on a wire.

Straighten your arms and raise them slowly above your head.

Join your hands, with your fingers crossed and palms upwards, as if stretching after a good night’s sleep. Lean to the left while exhaling, and inhale while returning to your initial position.

Do this 10 times, then switch sides. Then repeat the movement after reversing the position of your feet.

warm up before a hike

The lower body

The hips

Stand totally straight and upright.

Place your hands on your hips.

Lift one foot and swing it backward and forwards 10 times. Your foot should almost touch your bottom when at the back and your leg should be parallel to the ground when at the front.

The movement must be dynamic but controlled.

Switch legs and do another series of 10.

warm up before a hike

The knees

The knee injury is a common hiking injury. Stand and raise your left thigh until it is at a right angle, a bit like a flamingo. You can bend your standing leg slightly for more stability.

Rotate 10 times in one direction and then in the other from the knee, as if drawing a perfect circle in the air with your foot (which should not move).

Then change foot.

warm up before a hike

The ankles

Stand in the same position for the hiking injury-prevention ankles warm-up as for the knees.

Rotate your ankle in a circle 10 times, first in one direction and then the other.

Then change foot.

warm up before a hike

Your body will thank you for having prepared it for your hike!

Don’t forget to do some stretching during your hike if you feel the need, in particular your calves after a steep climb. And above all always remember to stretch your muscles when returning from a hike.