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Top Hiking Stretches

Top Hiking Stretches

Have you ever pulled a muscle or twisted your knee or ankle on a hiking excursion? If yes, you must consider some tried and tested hiking stretches to prevent such injuries. Consistent stretching is one of the most effective ways to hike on tough trails without sustaining injury.

Stretching is vital for a hike, particularly if you’re traveling with a heavy load. An excellent stretching regime can improve your endurance level for more extended hiking periods. It can also minimize muscle imbalances and prevent injuries. In addition, stretching is essential both before and after hiking. Let’s discuss why.

Why is it Important to Stretch Before Hiking?

Stretching before hiking offers some great benefits that include:

• It can reduce chances of pains and aches by improving our joints’ range of motion
• It warms up your muscle
• It supports muscle recovery after hiking
• It prepares you mentally for a challenging hiking excursion
Why is it Important to Stretch After Hiking?
Stretching after a hike is equally crucial. Key benefits include:
• It can reduce stiffness
• It can reduce muscle soreness that lactic acid produces while your muscles are engaged
• Stretching your hamstrings and hips can help reduce your body’s lower back pain
• Stretching improves your range of motion and overall flexibility
• It can improve blood flow through your muscles
• It can get your heart rate back to normal if it gets pumped after hiking
• Stretching can minimize the risk of injury by decreasing the tension in your muscles

Best Hiking Stretches

Here are some of the most effective hiking stretches you should do before starting your hike:

Calf Stretch

You can perform a calf

stretch by standing in a lunge position. Place one leg in front of the other, and bend the front knee slightly. Ensure both your feet are facing forward, and push the back heel into the floor. Stay in this position for thirty seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Quad Stretch

To perform a quad stretch, you need to stand on your right leg and bring the left heel back while grabbing your ankle with the left hand. Keep your knees straight and try to push your hips forward. Hold it for thirty seconds and then repeat.

Hamstring Stretch

For a hamstring stretch, you have to place one heel up on a low stool and place your hands on your hips. Now keep both the legs aligned and push your hips forward. After that, gradually hinge forward at your hips until you feel a stretch while keeping your back straight.

Shoulder Rolls

It’s more of a warm-up or cool-down – a great method to reduce tension in your neck you get after hiking. To perform this stretch, you need to shrug your shoulders upward, backward, downward, and forward directions. Repeat at least ten times before switching directions.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Place your right foot in front and kneel on your left knee. Try to lean forward and push your hips against the floor. Hold this position for thirty seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Upper Back Extension

To safely perform an upper back extension, you need to hold both arms over your head with your fingers interlocked. After that, keep your arms straight, hold your abs tight, and slowly lean back while pushing your hands towards the back. Keep looking towards your hands if your neck doesn’t hurt.

Wrist Stretch

You can perform a wrist stretch by extending your right arm forward with your palm facing down. Now, try to pull your right hand downward with the left hand and hold it for at least ten seconds. Repeat the same process in the upward direction and then switch hands.

Standing Saddle Stretch

Start by pointing your toes forward with your legs apart while standing straight. From there, try to bend your right leg slightly and pull yourself toward the right calf using your hands. Repeat the similar process for your left leg. After that, grab both your calves while facing forward.


This popular yoga pose is perfect after a long hike. To perform this, start in a push-up position with your right foot next to your right hand. Hold this posture for ten seconds minimum. After that, you need to repeat the motion with your left foot by bringing the right foot back. If you find this stretch difficult, try to bring your knee closer to the ground for extra stability.

Rag Doll Stretch

Start by standing straight, with your knees forward and then tilt forward with your hips. After that, cross both your arms and grab opposite elbows. You can go for an extra stretch by bending your knees as much as possible. Hold this position for around twenty seconds and then release.

Ankle Stretch

Ankle stretches are essential after a long hiking excursion. To perform this stretch, extend your legs out while sitting. After that, move your foot in upward and downward directions about ten times. Then, try making circles clockwise and anticlockwise with your ankles and feet by rotating them.

Final Words

Stretching holds a regular place in any individual’s fitness routine, irrespective of their preferred sport. You can add tremendous value to your hiking trip if you do some stretches before and after. Stretching also mitigates the risk of injury, improves endurance, reduces stiffness, improves blood flow, decreases tension in your muscles, and reduces muscle soreness. Make sure you perform some stretches before you begin your next hiking excursion.