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Stretches to Prevent Injuries

Hiking and rock climbing are wonderful recreational activities that provides significant benefits to the body. They can workout pretty much every muscle in our body and help to build up our endurance. Even if it’s a short hike or climb, if we’re spending much of it scrambling over rocks or walking up a steady incline, we will feel it! 

While these activities are challenging, adventurous and a lot of fun, it can be rough on the body. The constant pounding on your joints, particularly your knees, can wear out the joints and cause inflammation. Hiking and climbing are no different than any other sport or physical activity – it’s important to take care of your body before and after you do it. Stretching before prepares your joints, muscles and mind. After any kind of intense exercise, particularly if haven’t prepared your body properly, your muscles can shorten and become tight and sore. No matter the length of your hike or climb, stretching before will help prevent mild soreness and stiffness from turning into pain and a more serious injury. 

Three stretches to do before your next hike or climb:

  1. Calf Stretch 

Place you hands on a tree or car with your legs staggered one in front of the other. Keeping your heel down, your knee straight and both feet pointing forward, gently lunge forward into the stretch so you feel the stretch in the back of the calf/knee. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg.

  1. Hamstring Stretch

Place your foot/heel on the bumper of your car or nearby log. Keeping your knee and back straight, hinge forward at your hips until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh/ knee. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg.

  1. Quadriceps Stretch

Using a tree or your car for balance, stand tall on one leg and grab the ankle of the opposite leg, bringing the heel towards your butt. You should feel a slight stretch in the front of your thigh. Make sure that the knee in pointed towards the ground. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg.

Some basic tips to remember when stretching:

A stretch should be held for 20-30 secs and repeated 3 times on both sides. Gentle stretching is best! If you are feeling pain, then you are over-stretching and putting yourself at risk for injury. While stretching before a hike is important it is also beneficial to stretch after a hike.

By Angie Austin, LPTA

If you are dealing with either of these conditions or general pain and discomfort that is impacting your ability to perform activities, CALL OUR OFFICE TODAY at 703-450-4300 to schedule your evaluation and start living pain free!

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