Stretching Helps with Hiking
(Hobart, Tasmania, Australia)
I go through a series of stretching exercises each day a week or so before a hike. I try to stretch my leg muscles for 30 seconds each twice a day. I stretch my calves, thigh muscles and hamstrings on both legs , which helps me recover more quickly form each days walk.
When I'm on the trail I also stretch morning and night. It helps me recover more quickly from the walking, particularly with a heavy rucksack on my back. If I don't stretch I find I become stiff and sore - particularly if the walk has long descents which really work the thigh muscles. When I first started hiking, when I was about 18 years of age I didn't do much stretching and suffered as a result.
Over the year's I've realized that some gentle stretching in the lead up to the hike and before and after seems to work for me. I can't say whether this works for everyone, but I find it very beneficial. The same exercises seem also to help me with cycling - particularly if I am doing long distances.
I have a separate set of stretches that I use when I am going sea kayaking - different muscles require different stretches, but I find them useful too. It takes time to figure out what works best, but the time spent is definitely worth it.
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