Many adventurers become hiking enthusiasts for the beautiful views and time in nature. However, along with the beauty of the sport comes immense strain on the body that requires extra care in recovery. After logging high mileage, often with the added weight of a backpack, releasing tension and countering muscle imbalances is crucial for recovery and longevity. One of the best ways we have found to build foundational strength, increase flexibility, and counter the physical strain of hiking is with a consistent yoga practice.
Yoga is widely known for its wonderful benefits for both the body and mind. Yoga provides well-rounded movements that build strength, increase flexibility, and train the cardiovascular system. . The practice of yoga, like hiking, teaches presence and is an integral element of a holistic health routine for many.
In this blog, we will share with you the amazing ways in which yoga can improve your hiking experience, and how it can help you trek longer distances and reach new heights.
1. Fewer injuries
Pre-hike yoga asanas (poses) can help you build a strong foundation by strengthening supporting muscles that often are overlooked at the gym. Stretching before a hike will also help to warm up your muscles so you can tackle whatever trail is ahead of you without any pulls or tears.
2. Improved lung capacity
Hills and uneven surfaces aren’t just a workout for your legs, but for your cardiovascular system too. Practicing yoga increases lung capacity and aids in breathing correction, making those hills feel smaller and easier to climb. It also teaches your body how to relax when faced with a stressful situation.
3. Better cardiovascular health
By training to improve your lung capacity through yoga, your overall cardiovascular health also gets a boost, and your risk for heart disease and strokes decreases. Hiking and yoga both raise your heart rate, but the latter does so gradually and without shock to the body.
4. Increased flexibility
The repetitive movement of hiking causes muscles to contract and tighten. Proper stretching before and after hiking leads not only to decreased risk of injury, but in a greater range of motion and mobility of the joints, and elongation of muscles. This leads to greater agility and maneuverability on the trail
5. Increased strength and endurance
More endurance implies you can go longer distances without becoming overworked and exhausted. By practicing yoga that requires holding poses for extended periods of time, you will build strength and gain endurance, making the longer trails feel a little easier to tackle.
6. Better balance
Hiking requires a lot of core strength and stability, which can be built by yoga poses and transitions that require you to contract the core muscles. Just a few minutes of yoga a day can greatly improve your core strength and overall balance.
7. Faster recovery
Yoga can help to increase the ability of muscular tissues to regenerate and heal. For athletes, this means you will be less sore and ready for your next training session quicker. By letting your body fully heal between training sessions, you will get higher benefits from each session and see greater improvements on and off the trail.
8. Improved posture
Posture is often overlooked in training and outdoor recreation, but is critical for proper muscle alignment and breathing, which both greatly contribute to athletic performance. Yoga will help align the skeletal and muscular systems to support sustained activity and high impact movements.
9. Better mental health
Yoga and hiking is a spectacular duo that is both active and mindful. The reduction of stress on both the mind and the body is a superpower of yoga that has marked its reputation. Being active and in nature also contributes to the therapeutic reputation of hiking. When practiced together, hiking and yoga provide the groundwork for transformation inside and out.
Hiking is a great stress reliever and provides joy to many outdoor enthusiasts. However, it can also lead to strain on the body that, without proper recovery, can result in injury over time. Practicing yoga is a great way to improve your overall health and build a strong foundation for your hiking bucket list.
Try out this active, mindful duo with an incredible adventure to Patagonia with our Patagonia Trek and Yoga!
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