So rumour has it that hiking is the new yoga. I’m a keen hiker and the stretches above are ones that I practice regularly when I’m off on a big trek. So whether you’re on a big yomp or a gentle stroll follow this plan to help ease your muscles. Hold each pose for 6-10 breaths. 2,3,4 and 5 need to be done on each side. Happy hiking!
- Diaphragmatic Breathing. Taking deep lungfuls of air can really help when it comes to climbing big hills. I find that it gives me an extra boost of energy when the going gets tough. Think of inhaling from the bottom of your lungs to the mid chest and then upper chest, exhale through your mouth.
- Lunge pose – Start in a high lunge position with your front knee aligned over your ankle and tracking with your 2nd toe. Bend your back knee so that it is just hovering above the ground. You should feel a decent Stretch in the front of your thigh. Focus on lengthening your tailbone downwards and telescoping your ribs away from your pelvis. Either keep hands on hips or reach your arms up.
- Dancers pose – another effective way to stretch the front of the thigh. Hold your foot in your hand and think of lengthening tailbone downwards. Watch that the front ribs don’t push forwards.
- Warrior 2 – Great for stretching the inner thighs. Make sure that your bent knee is tracking with the 2nd toe and is aligned over the ankle. Press the outer edge of your other foot down.
- Pyramid pose – This is good for stretching the calves as well as the hamstrings. Keep your pelvis as level as you can. If you need to bend the front knee slightly that is fine. Keep your back long rather than hunching over.
- Chest stretch – Essential if you’ve been carrying a heavy rucksack. Interlace your fingers behind your back. Draw your shoulders downwards away from your ears and lift arms. Keep a microbend at your elbows and focus on creating space across your chest. Do not allow ribs to push forwards.
- Half forward fold – Find a suitable ledge. This is a good stretch for the backs of the legs as well as the back. Move into pose by folding from hips. Focus on keeping tone through the fronts of the thighs and length along your back.