Getting Yourself Ready for that Hike
Summer is finally here and we are ready to tackle the outdoors. We are very fortunate where we live to have access to some great local hiking trails from the NCR trail to all the local parks in the area. To enjoy your hike better (and prevent any post hike pain) you should do a few things to prepare your body before you jump out on the trail.
- Hydration. Water! Water! and more water. It is very important that you have enough water for your day. Make sure you drink plenty before and after as well.
- Warm-up. All you want to do here is slowly raise your heart rate and blood pressure to get you ready for any strenuous parts of your hike. This is easily accomplished by briskly walking along a flat area for a few minutes.
- Stretching. By doing a few simple stretches you will get your muscles prepared for all the inclines and uneven surfaces you will face. These include the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and calf muscles.
This is a good one to stretch the muscles in the back of the legs. Simply place your foot on a tree, rock or bench and gently bend forward at the waist. You will feel a stretching sensation in the back of your leg. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
Quadriceps (thigh muscles) stretching is important for all the up and down hill walking you will do. All you have to do for this one is balance on one foot and grab your opposite ankle pulling your foot toward your butt. You will feel a gentle pulling in the front of your leg. Hold 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-5 times each leg.
The hip flexors are part of the quadricep muscles specifically the top part near the hips. These muscles flex your hip when you walk or run. To stretch these simply get in a lunge position and gently lean forward until you feel a stretch in the upper part of your thigh. Hold 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-5 times each leg.
The calf muscle is the large muscle in the back of your lower leg. This is a very important muscle to stretch as it is one of the ones that people typically injure. This is done by finding a tree to lean against. Place on foot behind you, straighten you leg and lean into the tree. You will feel the stretch in the back of your lower leg. Hold 15-20 seconds repeating 3-5 times each leg.
Well, that's it. If you take a little time to get yourself ready before that hike you will have a much more enjoyable time!!