Top 5 Stretches For Hikers

STORY BY Megan Hughes 7th June 2019

For those who love getting out and about, hiking is a great way to explore some of the most incredible mountain landscapes. However, it can also be a strenuous activity, and if you don’t warm up and cool down correctly, you may find yourself at risk of injury. Here are our top five stretches for before, during and after your hike.

The Basic Essential: Standing Quadricep Stretch

Targets quad muscles – front of thigh

 Keep a relaxed standing position, with relaxed shoulders, and bring your right foot up behind your body towards your upper thigh. Hold on to a tree or table for balance if needed. Hold for 30 secs, then repeat on the other leg.

Take care not to lock your opposing knee – keep the leg flexible.

 

 

The Backpack Prep: Shoulder Stretch

Targets shoulders

 Place your right hand across your chest onto your left shoulder. Hold your right elbow with your left hand and gently pull up towards your left shoulder. Stand tall, engage your abdominals and breathe deeply. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the other side.

Take care to avoid straining your elbow or over-stretching.

 

The Hip Helper: Hip Stretch

Targets glutes and hips

Using a stable surface to keep your balance, rest your left ankle on your right knee and slowly bend as if you were sitting down onto a chair. You will feel the stretch down the side of your left hip and into your glutes. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

 Take care to keep your back straight, your chest open and your grounded foot solid.

 

 

For The Uphill Wanderers: Calf Stretch

Targets calves

 This is a great stretch for before, during or after your hike, particularly if you are including uphill climbs. It provides muscle relief and reduces the stress on your calves.

Step into a lunge position, leaning against a tree or fence post if necessary. Keep the front leg bent and the back leg straight, toes pointing forward, and shift your weight on to your front leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

Take care to keep your back heel flat on the ground to really feel the stretch in that back calf.

The Post-Hike Performer: Rag Doll Pose

Targets lower back, neck and shoulders

 This yoga pose is great for releasing tension at the end of a long hike. Take up a standing position with feet hip-width apart. Bend forward, hinging from the hips, allowing your head to hang heavy. Cross your arms and grab your opposite elbows. You can deepen the stretch in the lower back by gently swaying from side to side.

Take care to avoid locking your knees and be sure to keep your legs soft and knees slightly bent.

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