Spring is here, and Trails Are Near
Now that we’re into spring, and the cold weather is letting up, it’s time to get outside for some hikes and runs on some trails. I really enjoy hiking and trail running, as the scenery is always changing and there are many different types of terrain to choose from depending where you’re at in the world. This type of activity requires a good amount of ankle and knee stability because of the uneven terrain. But, you also need good ankle mobility and strength because of the quick changes in elevation. Here are some great exercises to add to your workouts that will help develop those things.
Soleus stretch - this is the part of the calf that many people ignore, but is vital to good dorsiflexion (how far your knee can move forward without your heel raising off the ground).
Stand with one leg in front of the other, with both feet pointed forward. Place hands on a wall or similar for support
Keep back knee bent, with the heel pressed to the floor
Push your hips forward, while pressing your back heel to ground
Hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds.
Repeat on each leg
Draw the letters of the alphabet as if your toes are the tip of the pen.
Stand on one foot and hold for 30 seconds, working your way up to a minute on each. You can add any exercise to this or just stand. This includes, bicep curls, lateral/frontal shoulder raises, or something similar.
1) Squat with resistance band around your knees. The knees will want to go toward the middle of your body, but by acting like you’re spreading the floor apart with your feet, push the band away from the middle during the entire squat.
2) Reverse lunge with band pulling knee to the outside – wrap a band around an object, then around your knee. As you go to reverse lunge, the band will try to pull your knee toward the anchor point. Resist this as you complete 6-10 reps on each side. Repeat 3-4 times on both sides.
Bulgarian Split Squat- This is like a lunge, but allows for more of the dorsiflexion I mentioned earlier. Put a foot on a bench or a box that is 12-18 inches off the ground behind you. With the forward foot select a distance that will allow you to bring your knee as forward as it can without taking it off the ground. Drop your hips back and down to lower your body. To add resistance, put a dumbbell in each hand, or in just one hand to get a little more core activation. put a dumbbell in each hand, or in just one hand to get a little more core activation via anti-lateral flexion of the spine. Makes sure to keep your shoulders back and down while holding the dumbbells.
Further, if you haven’t already downloaded it, please take time to download the app “AllTrails”. It has so many trails uploaded that will tell you the degree of difficulty, length, and other information related to the park or trail itself. It is a great tool to get outside.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning, getting out in nature has been proven to keep stress hormone levels low. Even when it only happens for one hour, the positive effects on our bodies can remain throughout the next few weeks, even if we can’t find the time to get out there again soon. I encourage all to get outside and move! You will feel great!