Updated: Feb 20
Pilates for hikers.
If you are a hiker, Pilates can be so beneficial for you, not just for your speed, and endurance but also for a good trekking technique which will assist you in injury prevention. Trekking is a repetitive activity, which means every time we move, we overuse some muscles and underuse others. This in itself causes imbalances which can potentially put you at risk for pains or even injuries over time.
Pilates is awesome at improving core stability, strength and posture. It is also a full-body workout which means that all of the muscle groups are worked, stretched and strengthened.
Other benefits of Pilates for hikers:
Provides better trekking posture, especially as you begin to fatigue.
Works both sides of the body and front and back.
Aligns the spine for better strength and stamina - especially important if you have a backpack/hydration pack on your back. This adds additional weight and challenge.
Helps with breathing patterns and expands your lung capacity.
Gives you better flexibility, strength, balance, coordination and proprioception - especially important as the trail is uneven.
Increases the range in your hips, and mobility of the ankle joint.
Gives you a better recovery time through stretching.
Of course, if you are a hiker we want to soar you to your highest peaks. If you are looking for that summit success do the following exercises 6-10 reps 3 x a week leading up to your peak, race, adventure, or that mountain in mind.
The following exercises focus on the main muscles used when hiking. These muscles include the upper leg, calf, core, deep stabilisers, pelvic floor, upper body, glutes and feet. With a stronger core and a more flexible spine, you'll feel lifted through your trunk and feel lighter and more agile as you climb.
Footwork: this will give you more stability and mobility through the ankle joint.
Beginner abdominal work: this will help your stabilisation and ensure you maintain proper form when trekking for increased periods. The following exercises will also help spinal mobility.
Full-body workouts: will help the overall endurance and strength of the global muscles. There is also a big focus on the backline of the body which will help the overall posture while trekking. This is even more important if you are carrying something on your back as you trek.
Intermediate abdominal work: challenges trunk stabilisation and coordination. This will also help you trek better since the power that your legs generate needs to be transmitted through your abdominals.