So, you love hiking. Your heart burns with the adrenaline from climbing higher than you could have ever dreamed. You can walk on your feet for hours. Nobody can tell if you are half animal or half crazy, but that doesn’t matter to you. All that matters is that you get your fix.
Although, it really sucks when you strain your muscles, lose your head, or when you are not flexible enough to get your leg up to explore new terrain. And most of the times in situations like these we’re confused on what should we do!
Well, I have a solution for you. You might not believe it at first, but yoga is going to be your best friend after this article.
In fact, you might just be doing some yoga on your hikes!
Don’t trust me? Well let’s see if this article can change your mind 🙂 I am gonna share with you 3 specific points and 2 exercises in each of them to show you how yoga can be your best friend as a hiker.
Read on to see what I have got in the chest!
#1. Flexibility Is Your Best Bud
Becoming more flexible with yoga is an obvious benefit for hikers. One of the main reasons why hikers have to call it quits is because of muscle cramps, pinching of sciatic nerves, or rips and tears in the muscle.
None of these are easy injuries, but some of them could cause you to never hike again. I’m sure neither of us like the sound of that.
Well, yoga for hikers will specifically counter that.
Let’s use tight hamstrings as an example. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. This is very common in a lot of hikers. Here is an exercise that can prevent this issue.
This position is called PrasaritaPadottanasana, variation.
- Widen your feet to about twice your shoulder width length. Maybe even more if you can.
- Now you will put your arms behind your back and try to touch your head to the ground.
- Reach behind your back and clasp your hands.
- You will start to feel a stretch in your hamstrings, calves, glutes, chest, and lower back.
After this, a good pose for your quads will be the Janu Dandasana, variation.
- You are going to get on both of your knees for this one.
- Once in this position, you will put your left foot forward to create a 90-degree angle from your calf to your thigh.
- On your right leg, lay your foot in a way that the top part of your foot is touching the ground.
- Now, thrust your hips forward and start feeling the stretch on your right quad.
- After about 20 seconds, switch legs and repeat the same.
This will greatly reduce your risk of injury while hiking and increase your hiking ability!
#2. Keeping a calm mind
You will come to find out that yoga is a form of meditation. Your mind will become clear as you are meditating, and you will feel a shroud of peace overcome you. This is essential for when you are hiking because there is the possibility you will get lost. This could cause you to have anxiety or lose your head!
To keep your head clear, a quick yoga meditation session could really help. This will also help you be smarter with your decisions.
Here is a good yoga exercise for clearing your mind.
The first exercise is Cobra Pose.
- Start by lying on your stomach and place your hands underneath your shoulders. Then, push yourself up but keep your hips pressed to the ground.
- As you are starting to press up, try to have your chin reach for the sky.
- At this point, you should feel your abdomen stretching, your spine strengthening, and your airways opening.
- On top of it, you will start to feel your mind becoming clear of stress and distractions.
The second exercise is known as the Tree Pose.
- While standing, you will want to lift up your arms and meet your fingers and palms together above your head. Keep your hands together and your elbows apart.
- Then, you will take one foot and put it against the inside of your other leg’s inner thigh. This requires you to clear your mind in order to stay balanced.
This pose is excellent for teaching yourself to stay calm in stressful situations.
You’ll notice that these two exercises are made to be accomplished easily. The goal behind these aren’t to push your limits, but to help you learn how to clear your mind in a time of need.
#3. Stronger Core
It is not only beneficial that you will come out looking like you can work out every muscle in your body, but you will also prevent arthritis and back pain because your muscles with hold everything in place better.
You will notice your posture becoming more correct and you will see your stamina go through the roof during hiking. This is also very important for your spine because you will be twisting and bending all different types of ways while you are climbing.
Your spinal disks crave momentum. By doing a select few exercises you will keep your disks and core strong and healthy!
The Standing Backbend is great for the spine.
- Your spine will be extra sensitive after lugging around your pack, so try this next time you feel sore. This exercise is great and easy to do anywhere.
- Start by standing with your feet together.
- Place your hands on your lower back with your palms facing you as if you are about to slide your hands into your back pockets.
- Now, all you do is push your hips forward while bending back in the chest area and breathe.
- Slowly return to your neutral position. This will really help with those long days.
The Boat Pose is awesome for your abs.
- Lay down on your stomach and point your toes out extending your hands forward. Point forward.
- Now, lift your feet, hands, and head as far off the ground as you can. Hold that pose for a few breaths, settle down and repeat. You will really start to feel it in your abdomen.
As time goes on and you learn more poses, you will be more nimble and strong to help reach amazing places you never thought you could. This will be a great exercise to test your level of persistence and increase your hiking endurance.
Be safe out there and keep your yoga strong! I believe that now you’d be sharing same view points as mine. Whatever they are, don’t forget to share it with all of us in the comments section down below 🙂