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imageTraining & Preparing your Feet for Hiking

Bringing your feet up speed for a long walk includes equipping your joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin and nails. Preparing your feet for bushwalking includes building up their physical fitness as well as preparing them for punishment. Walking over uneven terrain and up and down hills puts strain on bits of your body that you don’t use often. This section give some tips on training and preparing you feet for long walks.

If you are new to long walks its best to start slowly. start with shorter walks and build up. Make sure to set obtainable and measurable goals. Walking for consecutive days is far different from single day walks. The affects are cumulative, so pace yourself. Once you have reached a regular 5 to 10km on the flat then you should attempt steeper hills (both up and down) and more uneven terrains. 

As for for pack weight you should be able to carry up to 25-30% of your body weight. However it is better to steadily increase the weight of your pack during your training period.

Not only does your body need training but so does your brain. Your musculoskeletal system (including the proprioceptors in joints, muscles, tendons, and skin receptors) continually send back messages to your brain to tell it where it is. This is called “body awareness in space” and it needs training. Balancing on one foot, using a balance board, dancing or practicing a martial has been shown to help improve your balance. A better proprioceptive sense can prevent falls and particularly ankle sprains.

Skin and nail care
If you suffer from or have excess callus or corns you should consult a podiatrist before venturing out on a long walk.
Athlete’s foot is caused by a foot fungal growth that is the result of excessive moisture and the lack of airing of the feet. Make sure to treat it well before heading out. Walking boots provide the perfect condition for the fungi to grow. Removing your footwear and drying our feet will help as will the use of Methylated Spirit. Anti-fungal creams may help particularly if the condition becomes itchy and uncomfortable.
Check toe nails for ingrown nails or sharp edges. Make sure your toe nails are not long and do not cut then too short prior to going walking. 
Walking barefoot is a technique some experienced walkers use to toughen up there soles.
If you are prone to developing blisters use moleskin over affected areas.