Wednesday, 11 May 2016
4 Simple Exercises to Do Before Hiking

During the colder winter months I find myself longing for weather warm enough to allow me to get out and stretch my legs on a trail. One of my favorite things to do on a beautiful day is to see nature, take in the sunshine and fresh air, and get a little exercise while I do it.

It is now hiking weather and so I have a few activities I make myself do multiple times a week to keep myself in shape and ready for when a nice day for a hike appears.


1. Warm up on recumbent bike/elliptical:

While this may not be anywhere near as scenic as going out to a nearby park, 10-15mins on a rec. bike is a great way to get your heart rate up and work some of the same large muscle groups in your legs you will need for hiking. If you can get in 30mins at a time, that's even better. Ellipticals are also good low impact alternatives that I like to take advantage of often.


2. Step ups/lunges:

These two exercises are great closed-kinetic chain activities that help maintain functional quad strength. I've lead an active life and have had surgery on both my knees, so I keep my quads as strong as possible to help stabilize my knees during high level activities. Here lately I've gotten back into lunges and higher step ups to challenge my quads.



3. Leg raises and knee curls:

Commonly we have patients do 4 way SLR (straight leg raises) and knee curls in standing or while lying on a table. Sometimes I like to take these a step further and perform SLR in plank positions to incorporate core and arm stability (see pictures below). As with any exercise maintaining good form and muscle control is key. (Notice the determination on my face…)


4. Lower extremity stretches:

I encourage patients to stretch throughout the day as I regularly do. The sorer a joint/muscle is, the more often that area should be stretched. A quick Google search will show plenty of stretches for a person to do, but when my left hip gets sore so I like to do variations of the stretch pictured below daily.


In addition to the activities mentioned above, I like to incorporate balancing into a lot of my own lower extremity routine whenever possible. I often encourage patients to "hold on as little as possible" while doing their own exercises as a way to functionally improve balance. Balance plays a big role to safely navigating trails with high levels of difficulty.

Hope these tips help prepare you, and help prevent injury during hiking season. Enjoy!

Posted on 05/11/2016 2:47 PM by Dustin
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