Elevate your Hiking with Pilates

Elevate Your Hiking Adventures with Pilates

Autumn is right around the corner, and that means beautiful hikes on colorful tree-lined trails! The temps are dropping and you’re ready to strap on your boots, but is your body in tip-top hiking condition?

We’re not talking just a stroll in the woods. To complete a strenuous hike safely and efficiently, you must have strength, stability, agility, and focus. If your last hike left you feeling like your fitness is lacking, or if you’re ready to embark on some tougher escapades, read on to learn how Pilates can take your hiking game from subpar to superb.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Hikes are a cardio fest, and if you’re struggling to get up the inclines, you’ll be too busy gasping for air to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you. Above all else, Pilates focuses on breathing patterns and techniques. As with hiking, Pilates requires breathing correctly through physical stress, and in your sessions, you’ll develop the skill of executing deep, full, rhythmic breaths that will work to your benefit, whether you’re lounging around or climbing Mt. Everest.

Body Awareness

Hikes are full of little surprises—a wayward tree root here, slippery rocks there. If you’re not fully aware of your body and what it needs to do to stay upright, you can end up with a sprained ankle, or worse. Agility is about mindfulness and precision in movement, skills that Pilates makes a primary focus. You can’t get through a Pilates session by going through the motions; you have to fully engage your mental capacity in order to perform each rep of each exercise correctly for maximum benefit.

Core Strength

Pilates is all about the “powerhouse,” or the entire core of the body, which includes your abs, lower back, pelvic floor, hips, and glutes. It sounds like a lot, but when was the last time you hiked and didn’t use all those body parts? Think about it. You strap on a heavy backpack, you’re taking big steps to cover group going uphill, and you are exerting your energy in an effort to remain upright and stable. Since there isn’t one movement you can perform in Pilates that won’t recruit the muscles of your core, there isn’t a better workout to whip said muscles into shape.

Hiking requires breathing, body awareness, and core strength to work together, synergistically. Before you strap on your pack and head for the hills this fall, drop in for a few Pilates sessions to make sure you get the most out of your adventures.

Jessica Notman