When you are about to head out and go on a nice long hike, it might be a good idea to do some stretching before you leave. Stretching helps prepare the body, muscles, and joints and gets the blood flowing. These don’t have to be super complex, but some simple stretching could help you not pull anything while you’re out. Stretching helps the body remain flexible, builds muscles and helps the muscles not set up and become tight. It is an important exercise that we all should do daily, but most probably don’t.
You will need to stretch your neck, shoulders and lower back as well as the hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves as well. There are many ways to stretch and this won’t make you super flexible by itself but it will over time.
A simple hamstring stretch is a perfect start. Here you will sit on the floor and glide your hands all the way down your legs. Stretch your arms straight out in front of you and over your toes. You should feel a slight burning sensation if you are doing it correctly. You should hold this position for about 30 seconds before you return to an upright seating position. Try to do this at least 10 times.
Arm stretches are good. Take your arm and stretch it across your chest to the other side in a stiff position. Lock it with the other arm and pull back. This will pull on the upper arm muscles.
Stretch those hip flexors
For hip flexors, this can be really helpful for those that have sitting jobs as well. Stand up and pull one leg up to have your foot rest on the other legs knee area. In a slow and controlled motion, point that leg out behind you. You will feel your leg stretching as point your toe behind you and lift it as high as you can. While you are pointing the leg backward you can slightly lean your upper body forward.
For calves, you need to find a steady tree or wall. Place your body arm distance away and lean into the tree. This will allow you to stretch your back muscles. While doing this you can also stretch your calves by placing one leg behind your body and leaning forward. You should feel an overall stretching going on. This stretching will affect your back and all the way down to your calves.
While standing next to that same tree or wall, you can stretch your quadriceps as well. While leaning on the tree with one arm, use the other arm to hold your foot to your butt area, with a bend at the knee. Pull forward on the foot that is behind you to really get a nice stretch going.
There are countless ways to stretch from sitting on the floor and reaching for your toes to standing and reaching for your toes. The important thing is that you do some stretching every day if you can. But always stretch before and after a big hike.