Walking the Camino de Santiago, or any long hike, puts a real physical strain on your body. Spending just a few minutes stretching before and after your hike will lessen soreness, decrease the risk of cramps, and will prevent injuries. Follow these stretches and make your adventure more enjoyable!
Dynamic, pre-hiking stretches are essential to get your muscles warm and ready to move. Start by getting your heart rate up with simple exercises such as marching in place or swinging your arms.
Shoulder Rolls: Stand tall with your arms on your sides and slowly roll your shoulders forward, up, back and down. Reverse rotation. Repeat 10 times each direction.
Standing Quad: Stand with legs hip width apart. Bend your leg at the knee so that your foot touches your backside and grab your foot. Make sure your knee is pointing to the ground. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.
Lunges: Stand tall and step your right foot forward into a lunge. Hold the stretch and repeat on opposite side. Once in lunge position, gently twist towards the right side. Add this body twist for a stronger core.
Stretching your muscles before and after your hike ensures flexibility and a greater range of movements.
While your muscles are still warm, don’t forget to finish your long hike by stretching again. This time, these these static stretches help you cool down by decreasing muscle tension and increasing muscle relaxation.
Crescent Lunge: Right leg forward, knee over ankle and left leg straight behind. Lift your chest and raise your arms overhead and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Straddle Stretch: Take a wide stance and bend body forward at your waist with straight legs. Hold your elbows and dangle head between legs. As your body eases into this stretch, shift towards one side reaching towards knee, shin or toe. Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly shift towards the other side for another 30 seconds. Move back to the middle and slowly lift your body up.
Calves Stretch: Rest hands on thighs. Extend back leg and keep back heel flat on ground. Hold for 30 seconds and change foot.
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