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Time to Lace up those hiking boots

April 16, 2015

From CMC Physical Therapy

With spring officially here, some of us are getting eager to lace up those hiking boots.  In order to help prevent any possible injuries or aches and pain, here are a few tips that may help you in getting prepared. 

If you are not already doing so, you may want to incorporate some moderate cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, or biking into your workout regimen.  This will help to increase your cardiovascular capacity, as well as help condition your legs for your upcoming hikes. It is also important to incorporate a resistance training program to strengthen your lower extremities in order to help with the demands of navigating the uneven terrain and stairs that you may encounter.  Please contact your primary care physician, if you are just starting an exercise program, to make sure that it is safe and okay for you to begin one.

Prior to starting your hike, it is important to incorporate a dynamic warm-up routine. This may consist of a 5-10 minute warm-up of high knee marches, kicking your heel up towards your buttocks, walking lunges, walking “tin-mans,” where you raise your straight leg out in front of you, etc. There are a lot of possible dynamic warm up exercises that can be performed.  So make sure that the ones you do, are appropriate for you and your body.  A static stretching routine, for the legs, may be performed upon completion of your hike. This may consist of hamstring, quadricep, calf, hip and lower back stretching.  Static stretches can be held for 30 seconds at a gentle stretch.

Dynamic movement stretches are designed to take a joint or a muscle through a challenging and repetitive motion, moving a body part further with each repetition. Dynamic stretching is ideal prior to exercise to prepare the joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation.

Static sustained stretches are designed to hold a position for a joint or a muscle that is minimally challenging. The focus is on relaxing the body part being stretched and letting it go further on its own. Research suggests that holding the position for 30–60 seconds will increase flexibility in the tissue; conversely, done prior to activity, static stretching may actually inhibit the muscle’s ability to fire.

Don’t forget to bring an adequate amount of water for the entire hike, and a snack or energy bar to fuel your body if needed.  Lastly, enjoy the sunshine and have a great hike!


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