Fall is here and the weather’s beautiful outside. Hiking is a favorite past time for many, but it has its dangers, especially as you get older. Here are some ways to stay safe while hiking and make the most of this gorgeous weather!
1. Stretch beforehand
One of the worst things that can happen while hiking is hurting yourself. Between tree roots, rabbit holes, and sometimes your own two feet, a rolled or twisted ankle can put a damper on your hiking fun for the next couple weeks.
A good way to prevent this is to make sure to get a good stretch in beforehand. Loosening up before a hike will help you stay limber and minimize the damage that a fall can do.
Before your hike, focus on dynamic stretching. This kind of stretching involves moving through your stretches instead of holding them. Stretches like knee lifts or high kicks will help prepare your body for the motions you’re about to go through and warm up your muscles appropriately.
In contrast, static stretching can help you avoid soreness after a hike. Static stretching, which requires you to hold the stretch for 10 seconds or longer, improves the elasticity of your muscles. Focusing on the core muscle groups that got worked the most (typically the legs and torso while hiking) provides the maximum amount of relief from next-day soreness.
2. Wear a high-quality backpack
For those of you who like to go on long or overnight hikes, choosing the right hiking backpack is vital to keeping your body in good health. An ill-fitting backpack can cause unnecessary strain on your back, shoulders, and neck, resulting in possible short-term or long-term injuries.
When choosing the perfect fit, there are two things you need to pay attention to:
• A size that fits your torso length
• A size that fits comfortably on your hips
One of the most common mistakes made when purchasing a backpack is choosing one that fits your overall height rather than your torso length. When worn correctly, most of the weight from the backpack should rest on your hips, making it vital to choose a pack that fits your torso.
Interested in purchasing a high-quality hiking pack but not sure which to pick? Check out this backpack breakdown between three major hiking brands.
3. Choose the right shoes
Hiking means spending most of the day on your feet, making the shoes you wear crucial to a pleasant experience. Ill-fitting footwear can lead to cramps, shin splints, and other painful problems.
The general consensus in the hiking community is that either hiking shoes or hiking boots are the best choices when trekking through the forest. Both offer more support than your average sneaker as well as lugs on the sole for increased grip.
Hiking shoes offer less ankle support than boots due to their lack of a reinforced cuff. They’re also more lightweight and designed to ventilate your feet. Boots, on the other hand, offer more support and protection and are preferable for those who need more ankle support.
Whether you decide to go with hiking shoes or hiking boots, the same criteria apply. Everybody’s feet are different, so it’s important to try them on and make sure they feel comfortable. On longer hikes, your feet tend to swell, so make sure you have ample room in the toebox as well.
In conclusion: key takeaways
There’s no reason not to stay active, even as you get older. In fact, studies say that exercise is the number one factor for longevity! However, you can’t stay active if you suffer an injury on your adventures.
• Stretching keeps your muscles limber and flexible. Dynamic stretches can help reduce the chance of injury while hiking and static stretches can minimize soreness afterward.
• Carrying large loads on your back can lead to injury. When choosing a hiking pack, make sure that it fits your torso length and rests snugly on your hips.
• You’re on your feet all day, so take care of them. Hiking shoes and boots offer extra protection, support, and grip over regular sneakers.
We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.