I've put together a video of the exercises I do before I head out on a hike. Most people are aware of the importance of stretching after an activity, and I don't disagree. Let me explain to you why before might be even more productive.
You've hopefully heard me talk about movement patterns. Poor movement patterns or joint misalignment cause certain muscles to work more than necessary and other muscles to not work enough. If I head out on the trail and walk in the vicinity of 12,000 to 24,000 steps (I know this thanks to the Apple Health App), then the muscles that already work too much on a regular day, will get really cranky with the extra few thousands steps.
By doing a few targeted stretches, and facial release exercises, I can help my body to find a bit more symmetry, and then each of the thousands of steps I'm walking I'm helping the correct muscles work and I end up with less soreness at the end of the day. (The best part about that is, of course, that I can do the same thing again the next day, without needing to rest).
Quick note: this is not THE ultimate hiking preparation. This is what MY body needs. I know my patterns. I hope you know yours. If you do, please adapt your routine accordingly.
How long do I roll out each area or hold each stretch? It depends on what I'm feeling in the moment, most of the time I spend between 15-30 min depending on how much I feel I need the preparation or how eager I am to get outside.
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