With all of the warm weather in New England currently, you might be dying to get outside and do a lot of moving around. With warm weather comes all of the things we enjoy doing outside, such as spring gardening, bike riding, path walking, and more adventurous things such as mountain trail hiking or climbing, camping, fishing, and more.
After sitting stagnant inside all winter (or not so stagnant if you participate in winter sports or did a lot of shoveling as some of us have), it may be difficult for you to just get up and go outside to enjoy the high-energy things you normally do during warm weather. Even just a few hours of strenuous raking can cause pulled muscles or pain in your muscles that can radiate for days or even weeks.
That’s why we stress the importance of stretching your muscles before you do any sort of physical activity. This is especially useful if you haven’t done that activity in a long while. What stretching does is loosens up your muscles and prepares you for the activity ahead. Stretching only takes a few minutes to perform, and it’ll save you days of aches and pains.
We’ve compiled a list of some great stretches to perform before you start in on some of your spring activities.
Hopping on a Bike
Along with stretching before you start your bike ride, always make sure you are properly hydrated and you bring hydration with you while you ride. Not being hydrated can lead to headaches or worse during a warm day on a long trail, so make sure you’re prepared.
Here are some great stretches before you get on your bike:
Standing with your feet pointed straight forward, step with your right leg forward and bend your knee, keeping your left foot firmly planted on the ground behind you. Keeping your upper body erect, drop your hips forward until you feel the stretch in your calf (the large muscle just under your knee on the back of your lower leg). Hold for 15-30 seconds, and then rotate legs.
While standing, reach back with your right hand and grab your right foot at the top of your ankle. Pull it upwards towards your butt, being careful not to pull too hard or too fast. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then rotate legs.
Getting on the Trail
Just as with biking, make sure you are properly hydrated and you bring anything necessary during your trip such as sunscreen, bug spray, and proper footwear.
You can perform the calf stretch and quadriceps stretch from above, which will help get your prepared for hiking, but we have prepared a couple of more beneficial stretches for you.
Standing hip stretch:
Find a stable surface for support, and hold on to it. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, as if sitting in a chair. Push your hips backwards while keeping your chest out and your spine straight. You should feel the stretch on the right side of your hip. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then rotate sides.
Inner thigh stretch:
Standing with your feet a little bit more than shoulder width apart, take a small step forward with your right foot. Lean into your right side by pushing your right hip back. Keep your left leg straight. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then rotate sides.
We hope you enjoy the warm weather and all of the wonderful spring atmosphere to come! As always, if you find yourself with aches and pains, we can always help with our chiropractic services or massage therapy services. Contact us today to book your appointment!