As the weather warms and the mountains dry out, many enthusiasts throughout the Northwest flock to mountain trails and reignite their love of hiking. However, after one of the wettest winters in recent memory, many of us have suffered from a lack of consistent training.

As with anything in life, preparation is key. In addition to the strength and cardiovascular demands of hiking, our bodies need to routinely adjust and adapt to changes in the environment (both seen and unforeseen) in order to avoid acute or overuse injuries. This innate variability in hiking requires strength to propel the body forward and sufficient stabilization to control our gait and balance over brush, rocks, and whatever else the trail ahead brings. Here are a few exercises to get you ready for the trails and keep you healthy and active all summer long!

Balancing on left foot, slowly extend right leg back and tap toes to the ground. Maintain balance with left knee positioned over 3rd toe. Move slowly between leg up and down position.
Increase Challenge: Stand on pillow or cushion.
Perform 2 sets of 15 repetitions on each leg, 2-4 days per week.

Hold arms outstretched at chest level. Flex at the hips and touch hands to the floor, keeping spine straight throughout motion and opposite leg extended straight behind.
Increase Challenge: Extend hands above head to increase range of dead lift. Stand on foam pad or pillow to increase balance.
Perform 2 sets of 15-20 repetitions on each leg, 3-4 times per week.

Balancing on one leg, hop up and forward, and land on the same foot quietly. Goal: hop as far as possible without losing balance on landing for 10 consecutive hops while maintaining balance throughout.
Increase Challenge: Complete 10 consecutive hops laterally, or try 10 consecutive hops with rotation to 90 degrees, then 180 degrees.
Perform 2 sets of 15-20 repetitions on each leg, 3-4 times per week.