There's nothing more refreshing than spending time outdoors on long hikes. Here are five yoga poses hikers should practice to stay safe on their hikes and injury-free.
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Hero's pose opens the tops of the ankles and shins. When you hike the tendency is to press onward and upward. The upward movement constantly flexes the ankle and stretches the Achilles and calves. To counteract the constant shortening of the top of the foot, sit in hero's pose for two to five minutes.
More: Pose of the Month: Hero's Pose
The same onward and upward posture that carries you up the hills and mountains tends to force a forward collapse of the torso. When not hiking, it's important to open the chest to maintain a proper posture. An open chest is critical to breathe deeply. Anyone who has ever hiked knows the magnitude of sustaining full constant deep breathing for effective climbing.
To climb and hike, you engage your glutes to the max. There's no better way to open the glutes than hanging out in pigeon pose for three to five minutes on each side.
More: Pose of the Month: Pigeon Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Many athletes know it's important to keep the hamstrings flexible and strong. The more open the hamstrings are the less strain on your knees and the better your posture will be. When the hamstrings are tight, the pelvis is misaligned and therefore cause strain in the back. Use gravity to your advantage—hold a standing forward bend for several minutes. This will help open your hamstrings and help you improve legs and back strength.
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It's important to keep the illiotibial bands, IT band, which run alongside the outside of your thigh open and flexible. The IT band helps protect your knees and gives you the best range of motion. Although the IT bands are hard to stretch, try revolving triangle. If balance is an issue lay on your back, grab you right big toe with your left hand. Or, put a strap around your right foot and hold both sides of the strap with your left hand. Extend the right leg and bring it across your body simulating a revolving triangle while on the ground.
Add these yoga moves to your fitness routine to help you hike stronger.
More: 7 Reasons You Should Practice Yoga
Find a yoga class online.