The people who walk into TruFit’s doors are an adventurous bunch. Our community has trained here in preparation to hike through England, Switzerland, Alaska, New Zealand. Our clients have also gotten strong enough to hike Yellowstone after a stroke and some have trained to hike up and down their own stairs after double knee replacements.
So, yeah, we know a thing or two about getting people ready for lots of strenuous activity.
The fall weather is starting to settle in which means our outdoorsy friends are getting in all of the camping and hiking they can before winter comes. And while you can do all the work ahead of your trip to make sure you're ready to climb and get your heart rate up, it's still going to be important to let your body prepare for and calm down from the day's activities!
Here are five seemingly simple movements that have big effects on your body that you can do in a tiny space (like your tent!). Try these in order before you start your day and reverse the order before going to bed!
1. Turtle Breathing
Channel your inner turtle: Get onto your hands and knees with hips either on top of knees or sitting back toward feet and shoulders on top of elbows. It’s easy to collapse into your shoulder blades and look down but try not to do that; you want shoulders away from your ears and your eyes on the horizon. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth as you breathe in and out through your nose. Feel your breath fill up not just the front of your stomach but your sides and back, too. Breathe in for 5 seconds and exhale for 6-7 seconds. Do this for two minutes.
2. Neck Nods and Look-Arounds
Set yourself up in a sphinx position with your elbows under or slightly ahead of your shoulders and your shoulders away from your ears. If you feel a lot of back pinchiness, feel free to scoot your arms a little further forward. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth as you breathe in and out through your nose. Look up at the ceiling with your eyes and let your head follow. Then, look downward to your belly button and let your head follow. Repeat 10 times or so at a nice, slow pace. Then, look over your shoulder to see what’s behind you (a bear?!). A lot of times we want to look downward as we look around but really try to look up and over those shoulders. Your eyes start and then let your head follow and then let your spine follow after that. Repeat this about 10 times or so.
3. Shinbox-Position Hip Rotations
Sit tall with one leg bent in front of you and one behind you. I typically teach this with both knees at 90 degrees to help stretch out the glute more but the point of this shinbox exercise is for your long leg bone to rotate internally and externally in your hip socket. Place your hand on your back hip and then, using your eyes, look over your shoulder and behind you as the back hip rotates inward; then look over your other shoulder as that back hip rotates outward. This does not have to be a big movement at all but you want to feel as though that leg bone is gliding and mobilizing. Do this for 30-60s on each side
4. Lego Rockbacks
You’ll not only be connecting your hips with your shoulders with Lego Rockbacks but you’ll also be adding LOTS of movement through your ankles and toes. The foot has 26 bones and 33 joints so you can imagine how thankful your feet (and the rest of your body!) will be to get so much love and attention after being stuck in hiking boots all day. Do 10 or so on each side.
5. Walking Dead Bugs
Lay on your back with your arms and legs up, knees bent (as much as you can depending on what your tent allows…) Extend one leg and your opposite arm down in the same direction and then bring them back up. Alternate sides. You want to keep your ribcage pressed against the ground during the whole exercise. Also keep the arm that isn't moving reaching up to the sky; it's common to let that arm move, too. Do this 6-8 times on each side.
We hope this has been helpful to power your body up, power it down and let you hike to your heart's content. If you have any questions and/or want to meet with a TruFit trainer, please leave us a comment below, email us, call or text us!