Camping Warm-ups and Stretches

Ah, the great outdoors. A chance to connect to nature, eat outside, and sleep under the stars. There are lots of creative ways to keep moving and exercising while camping when away from your usual environment. We’ll teach you some camping warm-ups and stretches you can do before and after hiking, biking and carrying out your chores. We want your body to feel great on your next camping adventure!

Warm-up before hiking

  1. March in place: 1 minute 
  2. Heel raises (rise up on tip toes): 10-15 repetitions
  3. Squats – as deep as comfortable: 5-10 repetitions

Warm-up before biking 

  1. Alternating heel to buttocks: 1 minute
  2. Alternating leg swing “kick”: 5-10 repetitions each side
  3. Body weight squats: 5-10 repetitions

Stretches after hiking or biking

Hip flexor stretch: Hold 30 seconds

Move hips forward to deepen stretch

Hamstring stretch: Hold 30 seconds

While camping use a picnic table to help you stretch and warm-up
Stretch the back of the legs, it’s OK if the knee is slightly bent

Quadriceps stretch: Hold 30 seconds

Quad stretch using tree for balance
Stretch the quads, make sure your knee points to the ground

Calf / Ankle stretch: Hold 30 seconds

warm-up your Calf or ankle on a tree stump
Keep the heel on the ground and prop the front of the foot as high as you need to feel a stretch

Gluteal / Buttock stretch: Hold 30 seconds

Camping warm-ups and stretches
Lean forward from the hips to deepen the stretch

Wood chopping warm-ups and stretches

Most of us no longer make campfires to survive like our ancestors did. As a result, this activity places new demands on our bodies that can result in strains or sprains. Wood chopping requires strength from your arms, abdominals, legs and cardiovascular system, so it can be a great form of exercise if you do it correctly.

Wood chopping warm-ups and stretches: Go through the chopping motion (on both sides) minus the axe, 10 repetitions.

After chopping wood stretch the front and back of the shoulders like this:

Chest stretch: Hold 30 seconds

use a tree while camping to do your chest stretch
Play with the position of the arm on the tree to change the stretch

Cross arm stretch: Hold 30 seconds

camping cross chest stretch
Keep the shoulders away from the ears as you do this stretch

Exercises in the tent or trailer

In addition to making sure you have the proper sleeping pad and sleeping position while camping, here are some camping stretches you can do in the tent or trailer before or after sleep. Upon waking, lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest. Think of how a cat or dog moves after they wake up. Stretch long with your arms overhead and legs straight.

Then try 10 repetitions of “cat-cow”:

We hope you enjoyed thinking about new ways to stretch and warm-up while camping and out of your element. If you have questions about specific exercises you need, contact your physical therapist

Happy camping!

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