Best Before Hiking Stretches
Before you embark on your next and subsequent hiking trip, take some time to go through some of these stretching exercises. Hiking stretches help prevent injury during your hike, plus, they are also a great way to get your muscles up and ready in a safer way for the task ahead. Utilize the outlined stretches for a more effective and safe hike.
1. Knee Lifts
This stretching exercise should be done for both knees, one at a time. To begin with, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Then, lift your left knee and bring it towards your chest as close as you can. In a hanging position, grab your knee just below your knee cap with both hands. Within about five seconds, begin to lower the leg back into standing position slowly. Repeat the same procedure for your right knee. Alternating between your two knees, redo the exercise for each knee a few additional times, and that should be fine. It is important to note that you do not stand at one place during the stretch, instead, be moving around.
2. Alternating Quad Stretch
Your starting position should be that you stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend one leg back so that your foot nears your buttocks. Then reach the arm on the same side behind you to catch the top of the foot with your hand. Having grabbed the foot, pull it towards your buttocks to deepen the stretch. Keep in that position for a few seconds then release the foot back into a standing position. Do the same with the other leg. Maintaining balance can be difficult, so you can get a friend to help you keep your balance.
3. Shoulder Rolls
This stretching exercise focuses solely on your hands and shoulders. Stand up straight in a more relaxed mood. Ensure that your feet are shoulder-width apart. Then start swinging your shoulders forward in big circles. Keep doing this for about twenty seconds. After, release your hands and rest them for five seconds. Repeat the shoulder swings backward for another twenty seconds. When swinging, ensure that your feet are standing straight and steady.
4. Squat To Hip Flexor
Start in a straight standing position and ensure that your feet are hip-width apart. Without holding onto any object, lower your bottom as though you were sitting back in a chair. Let your knees track behind your toes. This should put you in a squat position. Now, put your left leg back so that you are in a lunge position. Maintaining this posture, push your hips forward a bit so that you get a perfect stretch on your hip flexor. When done, revert to your initial standing position. Then do the same process again, but this time with your right leg backward.
5. Wrist Stretch
As the name suggests, the aim of this exercise focuses on your wrists. Stretch your left arm forward with your palm facing downwards. With your right hand, pull your left hand down, bringing it towards your body, while keeping your arm straight. Maintain this position for about twelve seconds. Then use your right hand to pull your left hand upwards towards your body for a few seconds. Release your hands and then repeat the entire process, switching sides.
6. Goblet Squats
Get a dumb-bell or a kettlebell and place it between your hands. Holding the dumb-bell, push it towards your sternum. Stand hip-width apart and channel your weight in your heels. Now, begin to descend slowly until your thighs become parallel to the ground. Alongside, ensure that your knees track over your toes, not bowing inwards. At this point, with your thighs parallel to the ground, power through your heels to stand straight, making your hips extend fully. That becomes one count. Repeat this process a few more times.
7. Calf Stretch
To begin, find a solid standing object such as a wall or a tree. Step back with your left foot, with your toes pointing towards the tree. Then, place both of your hands on the trunk. Bend your right foot at the ankle towards your front, and keep holding the trunk for about 30 seconds. Release the trunk and drop your foot into standing position. Repeat the process of switching legs. Hold for another 30 seconds with your left foot bent.
8. Hamstring Stretch
In a standing position, bend your right leg slightly while stretching your left leg ahead of you. Ensure that you stretch it straightforward. Slowly tilt your hips forward so that you feel the stretch in your extended leg. Maintain for about twenty seconds and then repeat the process with the opposite leg. During the process, it is okay to keep your hands on your hips or top of the extended leg. Only make sure that your stretched out leg doesn’t bend along the way.
9. Torso Twist
Begin in a standing position keeping your feet hip-width apart. Then bend at your waist level and twist your right shoulder for it to go behind you and try touching your right foot with your left hand. It is okay if you can reach the foot with just the tip of your index finger. Return to your initial standing position and go through the same steps to the opposite side. Do some more for each side. Try spreading your legs wider apart if you find it very difficult to touch any foot with the opposite hand.
10. Alternating High Kicks
This is more of a rigorous stretching exercise but trust us, its fun. Commence standing straight with your feet hip-width apart. Shoot one leg up in front of you, trying as much as you can not to bend the leg. Simultaneously, swing the opposite hand over your head, aiming to touch the top of the foot. Don’t worry if you are unable to touch it. It’s pretty normal. Don’t forget to keep the leg straight because you might be tempted to bend it to be able to touch it. Next, bring the leg back in a standing position as you began and repeat the same steps on the opposite sides.