Hiking the countryside remains to be one of the best ways to explore nature. Even the easiest trail though can be grueling on your body if you’re not prepared for it. Here are five tips and exercises that can get you back exploring the trails.

1. Set Up a Training Schedule
Before you decide even to hit the easy trails, you need to build up your core and stamina. Even an easy hike can overexert and injure someone who isn’t prepared for the uneven terrain and slight uphill grade. One example of a training schedule suggests cardio, for 30-60 minutes each day. Start slow and mix it up. Injuries can occur easily from overworked muscles.

2. Cardio Exercises
Since hiking involves steady-state exertion, cardio is an excellent way to build up the stamina and muscles needed. Moderate-intensity workouts are suggested since it will build up the energy system used in hiking. However, it’s a good idea to add a high-intensity workout as well as recovery days to avoid overuse injuries.

3. Add In Some Resistance
Adding some form of resistance training along with cardio will work and build different muscle groups. Step-ups and heel downs are great for building balance. Training with dumbbells and resistance straps can help strengthen your core. Lunges, crunches, and planks can do the same.

4. Weight Training
If you’re considering doing some backpacking, add your backpack with your cardio. Start at about 20 pounds and add 5 pounds every few days until you’re at the weight you’ll be hiking with.

5. Go On Training Hikes
Whether you’re getting back into hiking or never hit a dirt trail before, you’ll want to add in some training hikes before you go on a big hike. Find some baby trails at your local parks or national forests to start with. They can build strength to prevent rolled ankles and be very relaxing at the same time.

Training and building your strength before the big hike will go a long way in preventing serious injuries. Not only will you be strong enough to handle anything the trail throws your way, but you’ll be able to fully enjoy the scenery instead of rolling your ankle on a tree root.