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How to Prepare your Body for Hiking Season
With the snow melting away and the sun beaming through the mountains, it’s the perfect time to recover from your hibernating habits and get into physical mode. One of the absolute necessities during any kind of hike, especially with the rising heat, is water. Prepare yourself to carry the added weight of at least a gallon of water, put something heavy like a weight or textbook inside of a backpack and do some walking around your neighborhood or on nearby hiking trails, if possible. A greater variation in elevation and terrain will grant you more versatility and adaptability in the types of hikes you will be prepared for. If you live in the city, buy an aerobic step machine or frequent a gym that has one and push yourself by walking 30 minutes to an hour every day.
Stretching is a critical component for preventing injuries and prepping your muscles to do extensive reaching. Stand up and reach for your toes without causing discomfort in your back, or sit on the floor and bend at the waist while reaching towards your toes. Another important factor to take into consideration is balance maintenance. Stand near a wall and lift your legs one at a time as high as it can go in each direction (make sure you can easily catch yourself by being within arms distance of the wall.) Lunges and squats are a great workout to develop strength and endurance in the most heavily utilized muscles for hiking.
Don’t hike beyond your limit! Build up the stamina for longer hikes by starting with short hikes and incrementally adding distance each day. Pushing yourself too hard can reverse progress, and building upon a solid foundation slowly is key.
Cherry Creek Wellness Center provides physical therapy Denver residents can rely on for recovering from injuries, and can consult with you based on your specific needs and concerns.