Prepare for Fall Hiking: 5 Minute Dynamic Stretching
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Prepare for Fall Hiking: 5 Minute Dynamic Stretching

Prepare for Fall Hiking: 5 Minute Dynamic Stretching

Fall is such a great time to get outside for a hike and explore our paths and trails—the cooler temperatures and the bright fall colours make getting outside a wonderful and healthy activity. Whether you are new to hiking or have experience, it is important to know how to prepare for a hike.  Of course it is important to bring water and wear appropriate footwear, but it is also essential to prepare your body for a hike.

Dynamic stretching can warm up your muscles and get them ready for the hike. They involve moving through the stretches instead of holding one position.  Typical static muscle stretching require you to hold a position for 10 seconds or more, and dynamic stretching can better prepare your body for the different movements you will do during a hike.

A good dynamic warm up can improve your range of motion and flexibility around the joints in your hips and legs, and bring blood flow to those muscles to get them ready to move.  For hiking, the hip flexors, hamstrings and quads of the thighs, and calves are working all the time, especially if your trails are up and down hills. A pre-hike stretch should only take about 5-10 minutes, and should never be painful.

Then you’re all set to hit the trail!

Dynamic Stretches for Hiking:

  1. Straight-Leg Lateral Swing:  holding on to something for stability, keep your right leg straight and swing it in front of your body like a pendulum, lifting it as high as you can out to the side. Do not move your trunk.  Swing 10 times, then switch legs.
  • Side Lunge:  start with both feet wide apart and facing forward. Bend your right knee as you shift your weight over your right foot, then shift your weight all the way over to your left foot as you bend the left knee. Lunge back and forth 10 times in each direction.
  • Bent- Knee Forward Swing:  with your hands on a wall, bend up your right knee to a 90° angle, then drive it away to straighten behind you. Repeat by swinging the leg up and back 10 times, then switch sides.
  • Heel Raises over a Step: While holding on for balance, keep the balls of your feet on the edge of a step or ledge. Come up onto your toes of both feet, then lower down slowly until your heels are below the step, moving through the whole range of motion at the ankles. Repeat 10 times, keeping equal weight through both legs