It's no secret, our bodies need to be taken care of in order to ensure a lifetime of adventure. Quite often, preparing for these adventures brings the focus on where to go, what to bring and when to go. As important as these preparations are there is one that is often overshadowed, additional exercise. It's important that we prepare our bodies for the challenges and abuse that lies ahead. Increasing our cardiovascular systems, strengthening our muscles and improving our flexibility won't only help with injury prevention but will also aid in recovery and make every adventure an incredible one. Whether you are about to hit the trails, water or road, these 10 exercises target some key areas we use in the outdoors.
Aim to do these exercises every other day. Complete as many repetitions as you can in a minute. Next, rest for 30 seconds and then move on to the next exercise. It is also a good strategy to engage in stretching before and after any activity so be sure to incorporate that into these preparations too. Lastly, you may feel sore but don't get discouraged. This is natural in any human body and will only decrease as these exercises are completed more frequently.
1. Calf Raises
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Lift your heels to the point you are balancing on your toes. Hold for a second. Lower your heels back to the floor. Repeat.
2. Jumping Lunges
Get into a lunge position (aim to keep your front knee behind your toes and your back nice and straight). Jump in the air and switch into a lunge with the opposite side as you land. Continue alternating. If you need lower impact, you can alternate stepping lunges and avoid jumping.
This exercise works everything. There are many variations to this but we will do the standard one. Lie facedown with your legs extended and elbows bent directly under your shoulders. Feet should be hip width apart and elbows shoulder width apart. Contract your abs as you lift your body with your toes and elbows (keep your forearms on the ground). Try to keep your body in a straight line for the full minute. You can also modify this by keeping your knees on the ground if needed.
Starting in plank postion, push your body up so that your arms are fully extended. Lower your body as close to the ground as possible without touching and raise your body up again. Repeat. If you need to modify this you can do so with keeping your knees on the ground during this exercise.
5. Mountain Climbers
This is a great exercise that will help strengthen your core, shoulders and breathing. Start in plank position and alternate driving your knees toward your chest. Keep your hips flat and parallel to the ground.
6. Chest Raises
This will work your shoulders, upper back and lower back. A great exercise for improved flexibility, core strength and helping carry that backpack on the trail. Lie flat on your stomach and keep your legs and feet together as you fully extend them. Elbows bent at your sides with your hands in front of you as if you were hanging from a pullup bar. Begin to lift your head and chest as high as you can while also pulling your hands toward your shoulders. Legs and feet shouldn't move. Lower your chest, head and hands back to start position. Repeat.
7. Bicycle Crunches
Lie on your back and bend both knees into your chest. Hands behind your head. Find a focal point to the left and right of your body. Keep focus on those points as you twist and crunch to each side. Reaching your left elbow to right knee, right elbow to left knee.
8. Squat Walks
Stand with your feet wider than your hips. While you are in a squat position, step one foot in to the meet the other and then the opposite foot out to get back into the start position. Repeat this motion for a full minute and then switch sides.
I love burpees. This exercise works everything also. To complete one successfully, start with a jump. Then immediately squat down, place your hands on the ground and jump out into a plank position. Jump your feet back toward your hands. Pop up into a standing position and finish with a clap above your head. Repeat.
10. Jumping Jacks
An old gym class standard. Do as many of these in your last full minute. Repeat all of the previous exercises as many times as you desire and give yourself credit for a job well done!