Take A Hike!
Whether you’re just getting into hiking or are already an avid trekker, implementing some key exercises can keep you exploring for years!
Hiking is an incredible way to strengthen your body and your mind! Hiking is both a weight-bearing and cardiovascular exercise which can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, and can help you manage your weight and prevent osteoporosis.
Unlike regular walking, hiking forces us to navigate uneven terrain and awkward angles, which allows us to burn calories faster and engage and strengthen muscles we might not otherwise use.
In addition, hiking offers psychological benefits. Getting out in nature and taking in the sights and smells encourages feelings of enhanced well-being. Studies show that exercising in nature can also lead to better creativity, attention span, and memory.
While hiking offers variety and interest we may not get from the gym, it also presents challenges. Treading on rocks and tree roots, weaving around obstacles, and moving our bodies up and down steep terrain requires strong leg and core muscles and astute balance in order to help prevent injury.
These challenges are why it’s important to do strength training outside of your hike.! Try these 5 exercises to help you avoid injury and have more enjoyable hikes!
5 Exercises To Support Your Hiking Habit
Russian Twist with a SMART Medicine Ball
Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lean back, holding the medicine ball to your chest, until you’re at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Keeping the ball near your chest, twist your upper body to the right, return to start, and then twist to the left. Do two sets of 10-15 reps per side.
Wood Chopper with a SMART Medicine Ball
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Holding the medicine ball with both hands, lift it up and to the left, on a diagonal, until your arms are extended. Then bring the ball down and across your body to the right, allowing your waist to rotate. Keep your knees bent and pivot your feet as you bring the ball down. Repeat by bringing the ball up and across your body on the same diagonal. Do two sets of ten reps on each side.
Lunges with a Twist with a SMART Medicine Ball
Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart and hold the medicine ball in front of you. Step forward with your right foot into a basic lunge position. Keep your knee over your right foot. From your torso, twist your upper body to the right, engaging your core muscles and squeezing your glutes. Bring your arms back to the center. Step the right foot back up and return to standing. Repeat on the opposite side. Do two sets of ten reps on each side.
SMART Medicine Ball Plank Leg Lift
This exercise will help strengthen your core and glutes while promoting better balance. Begin in a high plank with your hands on the medicine ball, directly under your chest. Engage your core. Keeping your feet wide, slowly lift your right leg up, hold at the top for a few seconds, and lower back down. Repeat with the left leg. Do two sets of ten reps on each side.
Improve Balance with a SMART Stability Ball
Incorporate SMART Stability Ball exercises into your weekly routine to help improve your balance. The SMART Stability Ball features 13 exercises—printed right on the ball!