You may not consider flexibility and important aspect for hunting, farming or other outdoor pursuits, but it is an essential part of our ability to enjoy what we love for longer. From climbing hills to crossing ditches, exploring wild places requires flexibility.
Perhaps you’re already fit, but neglecting flexibility could result in injury still. Balance, mobility, and holding certain positions require elasticity of joints and muscles.
Flexibility is the lengthening of connective tissues and muscle fibers to assist in blood flow, recovery and strength. Plus, it assist with moving nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.
Stretching for Outdoorsmen and Outdoorswomen
Sitting for a long time takes a toll on your spine and posture. One way to stretch the back is to lie on the floor on your back with your arms stretched out to the side. Keeping your lower back and shoulders on the floor, bring your knees in to your chest and rotate them side to side. This is great for lumbar rotation. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Lumbar_Rotation Don’t overdo it; just rotate as much as possible while keeping your lower back pressed into the floor.
Yes, sitting for long periods also affects your hips. Prolonged sitting shortens these hip muscles thus hindering quick movements. One way to stretch your hips is to lift your leg onto a raised surface like a bench or bed. With the knee bent about 90 degrees and the side of the thigh on the surface, gently lean over the leg, producing a nice stretch through the hips. Again, don’t over-stretch. Just move in a way that is comfortable but still produces the stretching sensation in the targeted area. The hip moves in many directions, so you may want to use a variety of hip flexor stretches. https://www.verywellfit.com/7-best-hip-flexor-stretches-5088569
There are a lot of little, flexible bones in the feet and ankles. Who hasn’t twisted their ankle on a hunt? Those hidden rocks and holes can sneak up on you! Something as simple as ankle circles and flexion feels great and can help with blood flow in the ankles, feet and calves. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/ankle-stretches Elevating the front of your foot on a step or against a wall and dropping your heel stretches the calf and Achilles. And don’t neglect the toes, especially your big toe. If you’re on your feet a lot, especially climbing up hill, you want to keep your feet flexible. Just bending your big toe upward and holding that position is a great stretch for the arch and feet. You can do this up against a wall or by kneeling and bending your toes underneath you.
Always breathe through your stretches. That oxygen is important!
Don’t just start a strength or flexibility routine right before the season. Enjoying our favorite outdoors pursuits is something we want to maintain as long as possible. Taking care of our bodies is one way to ensure that we can get outside and feel good. Flexibility helps you adapt to your environment with decreased chance of injury or soreness. Be as committed to your health as you are to your favorite outdoors pursuits.