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FITNESS FLASH - Strengthening and Stretching Go a Long Way!

Do you love the views atop Mt. Mansfield but dread the toll the hike takes on your knees?  Often times weakness in the hip and core muscles can cause lower parts of the kinetic chain (i.e. the knees and ankles) to have to work overtime leading to stiffness and pain in the knees. 

Research has found that in as little as four weeks strength improvements in the outside hip muscles (abductors) and the posterior muscles (gluts) were found in long distance runners after incorporating two specific strengthening exercises.  

In addition to the strength gains, the long distance runners reported they felt a significant reduction in knee pain and soreness after their runs.  Exercises such as squats, step-up, lunges and standing hip abduction 3-4 times per week for 15 minutes may be all you need to make the hike to the top of the summit an enjoyable experience. 

The Stowe Mountain Lodge also has access to so many beautiful views and hikes along the Long Trail right outside its front door.  You may be  passing these excursions by because you want to avoid the stress, pain and stiffness the descent places on your body. Range of motion, or the lack thereof, may be the culprit for the stiffness felt in your knees.  They say we are supposed to be as mobile when we’re 18 as we are when we’re 80, but much too often we tighten up.  

Hours in a sitting position at our desks, driving, or even relaxing with a good book, place our muscles in shortened positions pulling on our low backs, hips and knees that can cause chronic pain over time.  

Taking a simple 10 minutes per day dedicated to stretching our hamstrings, quadriceps (the infamous iliotibial band) gluts and low back before we get going in the morning or are winding down at night can help restore that motion we tend to lose along the way.  

Better yet, head down to the fitness center at Stowe Mountain Lodge and take part in one of our yoga classes, which is guaranteed to get you moving better through strengthening and stretching exercises and out on those trails in no time, sans pain!

Maria is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at Stowe Mountain Lodge.  To take advantage of Maria's expertise, check out the fitness schedule and join her for weekly classes.

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