Fall break is upon us. Hopefully you are out hiking enjoying the great outdoors! Not only can hiking be beautiful and mentally rewarding it can also lower stress levels, improve mood, bone density, and improve control over a healthy weight.Were lucky to live in a community with many hiking opportunities, from beginner to advanced in just minutes from your door. If your goal is to take a leisurely stroll consider these easier trail options:
**These maps can be located online or at the local Kanab tourism office.
To improve your hiking endurance, consider these simple exercises to build muscle and increase stamina for your next outdoor adventure.
ULTIMATE HIKING WORKOUT
1.GOBLET SQUAT: This exercise targets your bigger leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, & glutes). These are your main muscles needed when hiking.
How to: Grab a weight OR alternative option, hold it between your hands and near your sternum. Place your feet hip width apart (keeping weight in your heels). Slowly descend until your thighs are parallel to your floor. Next, power-up through your heels to standing until your hips are fully extended.
2.STEP-UPS: This targets your quads and glutes which are important muscles when climbing. These can be done on a sturdy box, bleachers, staircase or other elevated surface.
How to: Stand facing your box OR other elevated surface. Raise one foot to the top of the box and use your muscles to step up onto the "box". Fully extend your hips at the top, so you are standing upright with both legs. Use the same leg to step down, switching your starting leg with each rep.
3.DOWNHILL LUNGES: Lunges on their own make and excellent hiking exercise. However, one common mistake is underestimating how much the downhill effects your quads on the descent! Prep your quads with this improved lunge version.
How to: Find a gradual downhill, keep your upper body straight, your shoulders back and your chin relaxed. Engage your core and step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until your front knee is bent at 90-degrees. Keep your weight in your heels as your stand back up, returning to two feet. Repeat on the other side for desired reps.
4.HANGING KNEE RAISE: This exercise is quite different from those previously mentioned, as it focuses on strengthening your core. A strong core is important for many things while hiking, including balance and supporting a heavy backpack during a long hike.
How to: Find a pull-up bar OR something you can hang on (monkey bars or a jungle gym at the park are great alternatives). Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended. From a dead hang, engage your ab muscles and pull your knees toward your chest. Maintain control while lowering them back down to the hanging position. Repeat!
5.DEADLIFT: This exercise is another must-have for a hiking workout routine. Deadlifts generally target the hamstrings which are crucial muscles used in hiking.
How to: Begin with a lightweight, increase to a heavier weight as your stamina improves. Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your toes pointed forward. Hold the weight in both hands so that it is resting between your thighs while standing. Maintain a neutral spine and hinge at the hips, slightly sticking your butt out. Then, gently lower into a squat until the weight touches the ground between your feet. End with straightening your knees as you hinging your hips back to the starting position.
*STRETCHING IS A MUST, to ensure you avoid injury and recover as quickly as possible.
Before exercising and hiking focus on,
Dynamic stretching, (stretching while moving, like: warm-up jog, jumping jacks, high knees, and butt kicks). This stretching gets your heart rate up while warming up your muscles. Static stretching (stretches where you hold one position for a certain amount of time) are best done with muscles are already warm. This type is also very important to prevent injury and improve flexibility.
With these muscle building exercises you'll be ready to attempt your hiking goals in no time!
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