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Living in Colorado, we are fortunate enough to have access to thousands of miles of hiking trails and paths. Hiking is a great way to get out, enjoy the weather and get exercise! Did you know, that before taking a hike of any length there are three key things you should always do to help yourself prepare?

Hydrate

Hydration is key to ensuring you maintain the appropriate energy levels needed for a hike. If at all possible avoid alcohol and caffeine prior to your hike as they will lead to dehydration. If you are planning a longer hike, make sure you start hydrating at least one day before, It is recommend you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Before you leave for you hike have a few glasses of water and make sure it bring a water bottle or utilize a camelback. If you get thirsty while hiking, take a break and have a few sips of water!

Nourish

Eating the right foods before a hike, can give you an extra boost of energy and power. Before you go on a hike, its best not to load up on super heavy or greasy foods. Try sticking to light, protein packed food, fruits and veggies. We recommend eating fruit and yogurt with a little granola on top, avocado toast, or even a small veggie omelet. If you are on a longer hike and need to bring snacks, try carrots, nuts, granola bars, apples or even a pb&j!

Stretch

Stretching before a hike helps you warm up your muscles and can also help prevent muscle strain and injuries. It’s also important to remember to stretch after your hike. Stretching after a hike, can help you cool down and it reduces soreness. Try out some of the stretches below, from Dain LaRoche, an exercise physiologist at Vermont’s Johnson State College.

Before: Leg Swings

Prepare your hamstrings and quads to propel you forward.

Ready

Stand with hips level, gripping a tree at your side for support. Balance on the leg nearest the tree, and lock your other leg.

Go

Swing your locked leg as far forward as is comfortable, then swing it back behind your body. Swing 10 times per leg.

Before: Calf Stretch

Climb steep trails faster by increasing the flexibility of your calves.

Ready

Crouch down so that your knees are in ready-to-sprint position with your fingers and palms resting on the ground.

Go

Lower one heel, locking and extending the leg. Hold the stretch for 1 second. Switch legs. Do 30 reps.

After: Table Pose

Release tension from your hamstrings, shoulders, and upper back.

Ready

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart about one step from a large tree. Face the trunk and lock your knees.

Go

Bend forward 90 degrees at the waist, grabbing the trunk. Push against it with your hands. Hold 5 breaths.

After: Hero Pose

Lean back to target tight quads and sore lats.

Ready

Kneel, knees a foot apart, toes pointed behind you.

Go

Drop your butt to the ground between your heels. Hold 5 breaths.

Advanced With your hands behind you for support, lower your back to the ground.

Source:backpacker.com