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Make Your Body Your Friend This Fall Hiking Season

sept-19-2018-achilles-stretch

Achilles tendon and calf stretch

sept-19-2018-quad-stretch

Standing quad stretch

sept-19-2018-triceps-stretch

Overhead triceps stretch

September 19, 2018

One of the best times of the year to enjoy our beautiful surroundings is the Fall – no bugs, crisp air and gorgeous vistas reward those who get out on the trails. A few simple stretches can ensure you remain injury free during this glorious time of year.

Here’s a few tips to get your hike off on the right foot.

Warm up on a flat or less challenging surface to gradually increase your heart rate, and then start with some gentle general stretches. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds without bouncing, and at a range where you feel the stretch in the middle of the muscle but do not feel pain.

Cooling down after a hike is just as important as warming up. The heart rate needs to gradually return to its normal pace and since the muscles are already warm from all that work, stretching for 60-90 seconds will prevent stiffness and soreness the next day.  Some great stretches to try include overhead triceps stretch, standing quad stretch and Achilles tendon and calf stretch.

Another quick tip - use the talk test throughout your activity to help gauge your level of exertion. During the warm up and cool down you should be at a pace that allows you to easily converse with your partner or group, and while on the hike pace yourself based on the length of time you are out for and effort required to hike the trail. You want to get a workout in, but you also want to enjoy yourself and not feel too winded. 

So, get out and explore the many local trails this season. Remember to pack plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized along the way. And most importantly, don’t forget to stretch!

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