Now that we have our summer vacation calendar all set, what can we do in the meantime to prepare? Below is a simple stretch and strengthening exercise for each popular summer activity that you can starting incorporating into your routine today to help better equip you to take on summer.
Kayaking is a popular summer activity and for good reason! Besides being out on the water, it is great for strengthening your upper body, core, and back muscles.
The pectoral muscles can become extremely tight with life in general (thanks computers), so you should focus on stretching this area to not reinforce the forward shoulder pattern when paddling.
Begin in a standing upright position in the center of a doorway. With your elbows bent, place your forearms on the sides of the doorway at a 90-degree angle from your sides, then take a small step forward until your feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 2x.
Begin by sitting upright in a chair holding resistance tubing in each hand, anchored in front of your body. Your feet and knees should be shoulder width apart. While keeping your torso still and abdominals engaged, pull the tubing back leading with your elbows. Squeeze your shoulder blades in and down, gently release and straighten your arms.
Repeat for 20 repetitions and two-three sets.
Hiking is a fantastic activity for building muscles and burning calories. It engages multiple muscle groups at once like your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes and core. Being out in nature can often times make you completely forget that you are exercising!
The repetitive motions of stepping up or lifting your legs while hiking can leave the front of your hips and thighs feeling very tight. This should help prevent some hiking soreness in your legs.
Begin in a split-kneeling position with one knee bent in front of your body. Tighten your abdominal muscles, tilt your pelvis backward, and gently push your hips forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of your hip.
Step one foot forward and slowly bend both knees to 90 degrees, keeping your knees aligned over the feet (neither turning in or out) and lower the body straight down. Maintain a firm lower back and remain broad through the shoulders. Press up powerfully from the mid-foot and heel of the lead leg and repeat alternating legs. For more of a challenge, hold dumbbells or place a full backpack on your shoulders.
Paddle Boarding. Talk about a full body workout, from your upper body all the way down to your ankles. And like hiking, you can easily forget you are exercising while taking in the beautiful summer scenery.
Your lower body, especially your ankles, are working overtime to keep you upright on your board.
Begin in a standing upright position in front of a wall. Place your hands on the wall and extend one leg straight backward, bending your front leg, until you feel a stretch in the calf of your back leg and hold 30 seconds. Repeat twice on each side.
Begin in a standing upright position on a foam surface (or couch cushion) with your arms resting at your sides. Raise both arms and lift one foot off the surface by bending your knee; transferring your weight to your other leg. Hold this position while keeping your torso still. Hold 30 seconds to a minute and repeat twice on each side. If you would like to create more of a challenge for yourself, trace the ABC’s in the air with a dumbbell while balancing on one foot.
This is only a short list and there are many more exercises and variations that you can do to prepare for your specific sport or activity. Still unsure on where to start? Follow along with any RET clinic on social medial all month for more outdoor activities and relevant exercises.