Blessed with some the best spring weather in the country, there is no better time for Arizonans to venture outside to enjoy the sunshine. While hiking is an excellent form of exercise, it only takes one trip to remind you of the aches and pains that come from steadily walking at an incline on uneven terrain. If the soreness from hiking is holding you back from doing it more often, don’t worry! Check out some of these stretching tips and tricks to stay loose, prevent injury and avoid the next-day soreness.
Stretch Before AND After
Hiking is one of the most effective lower body workouts a person can do as it involves the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, calves and core. Because it is such a great workout, warming up the body beforehand is extremely important. Before you hike, you will want to engage in “dynamic stretching,” which involves constant movement through the full range of motion of any joint. This allows you to stretch the muscles around a joint, loosening them and preparing them for more vigorous movement. Some examples of dynamic stretches to do before a hike are arm circles, walking lunges and leg swings. Post-hike, while enjoying the endorphin release and sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a hike, engage in some “static stretching.” Static stretching is a hold and release stretch where you hold a position while stretching any given muscle group for 20-30 seconds. Some examples of good static stretches include seated toe-reach, calf stretch and standing quadricep holds.
The Many Benefits of a Proper Stretch Routine
Adding stretching into your daily routine can drastically improve how your body feels and functions. When its muscles and joints are tight, you will recognize the signs as joint pain, back pain, inflammation, lack of energy and decreased stamina. After a proper stretch session, you will see immediate benefits including increased range of motion, better circulation and a boost in energy. The best thing you can do is be consistent and listen to your body, it is telling you to stretch!
How to Get Started on Your Stretching Journey
Stretching, like exercising, has so many great benefits, but because each person is built differently there is no specific standard when it comes to stretching. At StretchLab, we often have clients who are embarrassed by their lack of flexibility because they had such a difficult time getting started by themselves. The good news is we all can develop and maintain our flexibility and it doesn’t have to take a ton of time or commitment, just consistency! For newcomers, we would encourage you to pick just one day per week and start there. It doesn’t have to be an hour, it could be as little as ten minutes, once a week. As you start to see progress you might even find yourself looking forward to stretching and wanting to do it more often. If you need help getting started, come into any one of our StretchLab locations and sign up for an initial consultation. You’ll be amazed at the difference stretching can make in your day-to-day life.
Want some more pointers on the perfect stretching approach for your body? With locations at Gainey Ranch, Arcadia, Grayhawk and Desert Ridge, StretchLab is guaranteed to help you feel your best. Offering both customized assisted-stretch sessions and group sessions, there is an option available for everyone. To learn more about StretchLab head to https://www.stretchlab.com/first-timers.
Written by: Nick Alcocer, Stretchlab
Nick Clcocer is a personal trainer, certified Flexologist and General Manager at StretchLab. In the past year, Arizona StretchLab Franchise Owner Jennifer Gage has opened three Arizona locations in Arcadia Phoenix, Scottsdale Gainey and North Scottsdale and just opened her fourth location at Desert Ridge in March of 2021. The owner currently has rights to open 10 StretchLab studios across the Valley.