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Hike a Hill

WRITTEN BY Molly Ramsey

PHOTOGRAPH BY Erica Navarro

The Lowcountry is home to gorgeous vistas that can instantly boost mood and improve mindset. And spring offers ideal weather for long beach walks and strolls around well-manicured parks. One thing our lovely region lacks, however, is much in the way of inclines. Whether you’re walking or jogging, climbing hills can strengthen your posterior chain, improve your stamina and cardiovascular health and burn fat, making it a smart addition to your exercise regime. So it’s time to seek out a slope!

THE BENEFITS:

➲ Incline work engages the whole back side of the body including the calves, hamstrings and glutes, as well as the quadriceps and ankles.

➲ Going uphill increases the intensity of cardiovascular exercise without adding stress to your joints.

PERFECT FORM:

➲ Keep proper spine posture—do not slump your shoulders forward. If needed, bend forward slightly at the hips.

➲ When running or walking downhill, do not lean backward as it’ll add pressure to the knee joints. Engage your core to help you stay steady, take short strides and try to keep your feet under your center of gravity.

➲ When ascending, hold your arms in a 90-degree angle.

➲ Resist the temptation to swing your arms from side to side; instead, move them forward and back, rotating at
the shoulders.

Get to It!

With inclines ranging from 1.8 percent on the Charleston side to 5.6 percent on the Mount Pleasant portion, the 2.5-mile-long Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is hands-down the steepest grade in the Lowcountry. The boons of taking on the bridge: wind adds resistance, upping the challenge of your workout, plus you get to soak up stunning views while you sweat. If you suffer from knee pain—or if you want to do incline work in intervals or bad weather—add inclines to a walk or run on the treadmill.

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