One of the most popular summer activities for people of all age groups and fitness levels is hiking. It allows you to see the sights at a leisurely pace, get out in nature, and enjoy the fresh air. You can do it alone, with a few close friends, or a group. And there are hiking trails designed for everyone ranging from very easy to extremely difficult.
No matter which trail you choose though, even if you’re a seasoned hiker, there are a few mistakes you want to avoid making so you don’t wind up with an injury. This is especially important if you’re hiking on your own. Here’s what you should be doing to ensure you have a pleasant hike.
– Stretch in advance
It doesn’t matter if you’re young and in your prime or already well into your retirement. Taking the time to stretch your muscles and prep them before your hike will always serve you well. This is especially true if you spend much of your time sitting in front of a computer. If you hunch when you sit, take the time to do stretches each day that help your neck and shoulders carry the right posture so you can prevent back pains on the hike.
– Get the right backpack
Not all backpacks are created equally. You need one that fits right and distributes the weight of your load evenly. There’s nothing like having 3 hours left on a hike and being too sore to go on. The trick is finding one that rides close to your body and distributes the weight across your hips.
– Choose your shoes
Knee and foot pain are also common hiking injuries. Most often, these are caused by weakness in your lower legs. Having the right shoes that support your feet will reduce any of these pains. Hiking boots are ideal for this and can keep you going for the long haul. They feature arch support with every step, making your hike a comfortable experience.
– Train your muscles
Even if you get the best hiking boots around, if your body isn’t trained for hiking, it’s going to feel sore. Conditioning exercises help balance the muscles so they all bear the load equally without overstraining any one muscle group. If you’ve never been hiking before, it’s very important to build up some endurance, even if you’re taking on an easy trail.
– Sudden injuries
And then, even when you’re ultra-prepared and conditioned, certain things can arise that throw a wrench in your hiking plans. For example, you may encounter some wildlife that startles you, causing you to trip over your own feet and sprain your ankle or cause some other injury. That can put a damper on your hiking plans fast.
Once you get back to civilization, you can enlist the services of our licensed physiotherapists. They’ll come to you so all you have to do is rest up until they arrive!