How to Prepare for a Hike: 4 Great Stretches
Arizona is known for its golf courses, sunny weather, and hiking trails. But the sunny weather can sometimes limit our use of these hiking trails. Now that it’s November, we are going to start to see cooler mornings and nights. That means the trails will be lined with people and if you are one of them it is important to stretch before a hike. Especially if you haven’t been during the hot, summer months.
Lunges: these stretch the hip flexor, which is commonly used when walking, hiking, or running. It is important to get both sides warmed up before embarking on the trails. Stand with one leg in front of you and bend at the knee to form a 90 degree angle. Make sure your knee does not go over the front of your toes, it should be directly above your ankle. Push backwards to stand up and repeat with the other leg. Do this a total of 10 times.
Quad Stretches: don’t forget you have two legs so everything is going to need to be alternated. Stand with your legs hip width apart. Bend your leg at the knee so your foot touches your butt and grab your foot with your hand, holding it in this position for 20 seconds then switch legs.
Knee to Elbow: those hip flexors are important, but so are the rest of the lower body. Rotational movements in your warmup is key. This is why we recommend doing knee to elbow. Position yourself with your feet hip width apart. Bring your left leg up, in front of you and try to touch your right elbow to your left knee. If you cannot reach your knee, that is fine, just get as close as possible. Maintaining good balance is key during this stretch, however, if you need to hold onto something, we recommend you do. Do this ten times before switching legs.
Calf Raises: for this exercise we recommend you stand facing a wall, or something sturdy you can place both hands on. Once your hands are placed, step backwards until your arms are straight in front of you. Pull one knee up, as close to your chest as you can get, and with the other leg move up and down on your tiptoes. Then switch legs. Do this 15 times on each leg before switching.
Doing a warmup of stretching before a hike can alleviate the soreness that often follows. It also, helps with the range of motion and flexibility of your joints while decreasing the chances of injury. When you decide to hike, make sure you are aware of the intensity of the trail, your fitness levels and endurance, and stay hydrated! We don’t want to see you in a helicopter on Channel 12 news.
If you happen to sustain an injury while hiking, Physical Therapy is a great way to recover fast and effectively. Contact Fusion Rehabilitation today and get back on the trails in no time.