Making an Olympic appearance and giving an NCAA championship performance all in the past year, Sage Watson knows what it takes to win. From a proper diet to a positive mentality, the 400-meter hurdle track star trains for victory. When it comes to workouts, Watson hits the weight room and the track to get in competition shape. For recovery, however, the track star visits the mountains.
Watson’s habit for hiking can be credited to her father. While the family’s roots are in Canada, The Arizona Wildcat alumna, now explores the mountains of Arizona. Though she may have ended her collegiate career, Watson still plans to compete, so maintaining a consistent training program is key to her success.
4 pictures for 4 years of collegiate competition. I started my collegiate career not knowing what to expect. I remember my freshman year sitting in the stands watching the 400h finals at NCAAs and wondering if I would ever be good enough to get in that race let alone win it. I couldn't have ended my collegiate career in a better way than I did yesterday. Thank you to the university of Arizona and Florida state, my coaches, my teammates, my boyfriend and my family for believing in me. Especially my coach @fredleeharvey for seeing my potential and allowing me to be a Wildcat. I am forever grateful for the opportunities I was given. #blessed
While intense, controlled activities are essential for performance improvement, other forms of exercise are also necessary for the body to remain healthy. One scroll through Watson’s Instagram account and it’s clear that hiking is her work out of choice. The athlete benefits from the physical and mental advantages of spending time in the mountains.
First, hiking strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes, all areas that contribute to Watson’s track performances. Hiking, however, does not strain muscles and joints as much as running or strength training, so athletes can enjoy the physical activity without the bodily stress.
Second, hiking works specific muscles in the body that few other activities engage. Because of uneven terrain, hiking targets muscles in the hips, legs, ankles and back that stabilize the body and are not activated when running or strength training.
Maintaining an upright position while striding, and potentially carrying a backpack, utilizes the abdominal muscles. Thus, hiking essentially results in a light, full-body workout.
Finally, hiking removes an athlete from organized activity and places him or her outdoors, allowing the mind to rest. Without the concern of air conditioning or the pressure of counting of reps, hiking lets individuals work out without much mental work. Though it may be characterized as a relaxing, weekend activity, hiking provides results despite its leisure-like fitness approach.
While Watson did not contend for a medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, she plans to join Team Canada for the 2020 games in Tokyo, where we’re sure she will find new mountains to climb.