Dr. Beck went on a three day backpacking trip to circumnavigate Mt. Hood with her husband, friend, and Porter the dog. The Timberline Trail is a heavily trafficked trail perfect for day runners, hikers, and fellow backpackers. In total, it is about 44 miles long with about 8,600 feet of elevation.
When walking up and down a mountain with weight on your back, it"s almost inevitable to end up with a sore and stiff body. Dr. Beck recommends a trail break every 3-4 hours to snack and stretch and another longer stretch session once you reach camp for the night. Here are some stretches to keep your body in hiking shape on the trail:
Forward folds will stretch the backs of your legs, glutes, your lower back, and your entire posterior chain. You can sit on the ground and lean forward over straight legs or you can stand straight and bend over to get the same benefits.
Runners lunges can stretch your hip flexors and your quadriceps as well as your calf muscles. If you lift your torso up into a crescent lunge, you can deepen the stretch.
Standing side bends with your arm overhead can stretch your oblique muscles, latissimus muscles, create space in your rib cage, and maybe even stretch the outsides sides of your legs.
Squatting as low as possible will encourage the whole range of motion in your ankles, knees, and hips. Your legs will be tired after a full day of hiking, so it"s important to stretch out the whole muscle fibers before bed.
Kneel and sit back on your heels, then walk your hands behind you to stretch your quadriceps and abdomen. You may also feel a nice stretch in your chest and shoulders.
Butterfly pose is a great stretch for your inner thighs. In seated, pull your feet to touch and then drop your knees away from each other to form the "wings" of the butterfly. You can add another low back stretch by rounding your spine over your legs.
Twist by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart. Let your knees drop from side to side like windshield wipers for a gentle spinal twist and outer leg stretch. If you want a deeper twist, place your arms to a T, raise your knees to your chest, and let your knees drop to one side.