Grab your hiking boots and trekking poles! The August weather is just right for a great hike outdoors. The Pacific Northwest is any hiker’s dream, with national parks and forests that boast amazing views of green covered mountains, alpine lakes, and waterfalls.
Whether you’re planning a casual hike with the family or you’re devoted to a challenging incline, it’s important to take precaution to avoid injury.
Here are four exercises Renew Physical Therapy advises you to do before you set foot on the trailhead:
- Step Downs: Stand with one foot on a stepping block and the other foot off the ground. Lower your leg down off the side of the stepping block, and touch your heel to the ground. Return to the original position and repeat. Switch to the other leg and repeat the same movement. This exercise is great for muscle-building and stabilizing your knees.
- Downhill Lunges: Don’t underestimate the downhill trip! Strengthen your quads, stabilizer, and core muscles with this exercise. Find a gradual downhill sidewalk. Keep your upper body straight, step forward with one leg, and lower your hips so your knee is at a 90 degree angle. Stand back up and step your back leg forward so your feet are together. Repeat the same movement with your opposite leg.
- Squats: Want to feel extra prepared? Fill your backpack with your hiking gear and strap it on for this exercise. To perform a squat, start with your feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees, and lower your tailbone while keeping your spine long. Squeeze your glutes and push up. This exercise is an all-around great workout for your lower body and legs.
- Mountain Climbers: Of course we have to add in this movement! For better hiking balance and strength, start in a plank position. Bring one knee forward towards your chest. Jump and rapidly switch legs so your other knee is towards your chest. Repeat at a fast pace so you’re “running” and bringing your legs back and forth towards your chest.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a hiking-related injury, contact Renew Physical Therapy and ask us about our Manual Therapy program.