It’s the perfect time of year to get out there and go for a hike. The weather has just started to cool off a little, leaves have begun to change in some states, and the smells of fall are in the air. While hiking seems like a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon, it can be more serious exercise than some people realize. Many people wake up the day after a hike to realize not just the pleasant ache that comes from exertion, but the pain of an overstrained muscle. Stretching before a hike can help to avoid this.
Best Stretches Before a Hike
Hamstring stretches are possibly the most necessary, and injuries to this area of the body are common after hikes. There are many ways to stretch hamstrings. One simple way that can be done while in the woods or on the trail is to put the right foot about three feet in front of the left, bend down and touch the toes, then repeat on the other side. If you prefer to stretch at home before the hike, you can lie down, bend knee to grab ahold of toes, and then pull toes towards your face until leg straightens.
Runner’s stretch is a good stretch for the legs and back. Start with left leg extended behind, and bend forward so that the right knee is right over the right foot. Repeat on opposite side.
Ankle stretch is simple, and feels very good. With weight balanced on the left leg, lift the right leg until the foot hangs loose. Rotate foot clockwise, and then counter clockwise. Repeat on opposite side.
With any of these exercises, it is very important to stretch both sides out equally. You will feel much better for stretching first, and it will help to relieve the tension of the work week before your weekend jaunt.