Healthy Hiking – Reduce Injuries by Warming up with Yoga

By Tijana Radeska
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Yoga while hiking
 
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Hiking is one of the healthiest exercises for our bodies, but sometimes get back pain or muscle strain if we don’t stretch before going on a trek. So regardless of how easy the trek might be, our bodies should be prepared for it. The lowest impact and at the same time, the least time-consuming way to warm up would be a few yoga poses.

There’s a few of us here at Outdoor Revival HQ that do regular Yoga, and it’s definitely beneficial.

When you travel and hike, there is no much time and space to do a proper warming up, but there are a few yoga poses that would certainly enhance your hiking experience.

 

It’s worth mentioning that some of these poses can be hard to achieve without some practice and to get used to them. If they are hard for you, then it would be worth trying out some easier ones to get you started.

 

Doing yoga while in nature. Photo credit

 

Yoga. Photo credit

 

Yoga. Photo credit

So every person who does yoga will tell you that the benefits of it are body strength, balance, stamina, lung capacity, and focus. Pretty much everything that hiking requires. So combining the two might result in a great hiking experience.

There are some poses in yoga that you might use for stretching and relaxing even if you don’t practice yoga regularly. All you need is to be comfortable in each pose and stay in it for at least for five deep breaths. If it feels comfortable and relaxing, you can remain in the pose as long as you like. If you struggle to start with, persevere, and you will adapt quickly, if it’s too hard chose an easier pose until you’re ready to try the harder one again.

 

Yoga. Photo credit

So, one of the poses in yoga that you can do is “Dandayamana Janushirasana” or “Standing head to knee” in which all the major body muscles are stretched. Staying in the “Dandayamana Janushirasana” yoga-pose mostly tightens the abdominal and thigh muscles, but it also strengthens the muscles of the back, the biceps, triceps, scapula, the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and the deltoids.

At the same time, the pose improves concentration, creates balance, and increases the flexibility of the static nerves.

 

 

From a standing position on the ground lift one of the legs while distributing your body weight equally on the standing foot. Once you feel stable, place your fingers on the lifting foot. Inhale and on an exhale stretch your leg in front, so it is parallel to the ground by pushing your foot into your hands. Maintain your balance and press your chest toward your leg by bending your elbows toward the lifted leg. Try to touch your knee with your forehead. Even if you don’t manage to do so, bend your forehead to the front as far as the position feels comfortable. Photo credit

 

Dandayamana Janushirasana. Photo credit

Another yoga pose is “Adho Mukha Svanasana” or “Downward Facing Dog” which stretches the hands, shoulders, calves, and hamstrings and strengthens the arms and legs.

The position calms the body and also energizes the whole body. Improves digestion, and relieves back pain, headache, stress, and even insomnia and fatigue.

 

Place your hands and knees on the floor. Set the knees directly below the hips and your hands just a bit above your shoulders. Inhale and on an exhale, lift your knees off the ground. Press your hands into the mat and lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling. Try to reach the floor with your heels and release your neck by touching your chin to your chest. Photo credit

 

Adho Mukha Svanasana. Photo credit

You can also make the “Anjaneyasana” or “Low Lunge.” This is a position in yoga that helps to improve the flexibility and strength in your arms, shoulders, legs, abdomen, hips, back, and knees.

The pose strengthens mostly the muscles in the arms and shoulders, and it also stretches the quadriceps and the gluteus maximus. It also helps to improve the balance of the body.

Get in the position of downward facing dog and by exhaling step the right foot forward, between your hands, aligning the knee over the heel into a 90-degree angle. Keep your right knee fixed like that and lower the left one to the floor. Slightly bend back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the left front groin and thigh. Then extend your arms beside your ears and put your weight forward until you feel a comfortable stretch in your left hip. Get into the position downward facing dog and repeat everything starting with the left leg. Photo credit

 

Anjaneyasana. Photo credit

One more position you can do is “Paschimottanasana” or “Seated Forward Fold” that would help you stretch the entire back side of the body from the neck down to the heels. It is an excellent yoga pose because it stretches the spine, the shoulders, and hamstrings.

It also improves the blood circulation, and it stimulated the work of the kidneys, liver, ovaries, and uterus. This position helps for reducing headache, fatigue, and anxiety.

Lay down with your hands above your head. Very slowly start lifting the heads up and follow their movement with your eyes. Just before your sight can’t reach them, start to lift your head. As your hands touch your legs, start lifting your back, while you try to touch your heels with your fingers. Once you do so, remain in that position and relax your spine. Then start sliding your hands on your legs back towards your body. Start lifting the hands and push your body back into lying position. Photo credit

 

Paschimottanasana. Photo credit

 

Paschimottanasana. Photo credit

These four positions are great for warming up before you get out on your hike. They improve body circulation, stretch your muscles, and improve the strength of your body.

So if you are in the mountains and don’t have much time to exercise and warm up, these few yoga poses should be enough to relax, energize and prepare your body for being put to work.

 

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