• bhenrypt

Tips To Help You Prepare For Hiking in the Great Outdoors!

Anyone else looking forward to hiking season?



With the nice weather and summer fast approaching, many of us can't wait to get out of the city and enjoy all that nature has to offer.


Sometimes hiking can seem quite daunting, but there are ways that you can prepare your body to ensure that you are able to keep hiking mile after mile and avoid injuries along the way.


Injury is one of the common reasons that many adventures stop hiking altogether, and while yes, injuries may occur, many can be easily avoided by simply preparing our body's for the right conditions during preseason training.


Some simple exercises can be incorporated into your everyday routine to help build strength and stability in the muscles that help power your body up the mountain.


When training for hikes, it is important to:

  • Build Endurance - This is especially important on longer hikes!

  • Improve Balance - Often the terrain can be unpredictable and can lead to slips, trips, and falls which can be prevented with proper balance training.

  • Develop Core Strength- This helps with overall power, stability and endurance and is especially important when carrying heavy backpacks.

  • Strengthen Global Mover Muscles - Strong leg muscles will help power you up the hill.

Strengthening Lower Leg Muscles



Lower body muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius create a strong foundation which helps to propel the rest of your body up the mountain.


Since hiking uses a combination of muscles in the leg, it is important that a range of large muscles are targeted during preseason training to avoid issues related to gait and posture.


For example, someone with strong quads but weak hamstrings may experience issues with their gait pattern that will likely affect their every stride.


At the beginning of the hike, this may seem like no big deal, but repetitive incorrect loading and a lack of conditioning may not only limit how far one can hike, but also predispose the individual to injury along the way.


Some lower leg exercises that improve strength include:

  • Reverse lunges - This can be done with or without dumbbells.

  • Swiss ball hamstring curls

  • Calf raises - This can be done on a step, box, or simply on the floor. A progression may be to add dumbbells for extra weight.

**Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you aren't familiar with the above exercises!



Core Training



Hikers are regularly exposed to challenges such as:

  • Uneven terrain - which is a risk factor for slips, trips, and falls.

  • Carrying heavy gear - you need to incrementally build strength to be able to carry weight

  • Slippery Conditions

To prevent injuries from occurring as a result of these unpredictable challenges, it is important that hikers have strong core muscles to help create stability around hip, back and shoulder joints.


Unfortunately, many hikers are under the impression that core training consists of endless crunches and sit-ups, but it is so much more!


Yoga and pilates are great ways to develop core strength!


Not only does yoga help strengthen abdominal muscles and improve postural stability, but it also challenges flexibility and improves range of motion.


Additionally, pilates help increase muscle strength and tone, particularity of your abdominals, hips, buttocks, and lower back, which are all important muscles for hiking success.


Additionally, some excellent core exercises that you may already be familiar with are:

  • Dead bug

  • Bird Dog

  • Side Plank

**Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you aren't familiar with the above exercises!



Balance




Balance is an important factor when considering certain hikes, especially if the trails have uneven ground, loose gravel or small rocks, or nearby cliffs since these are all risk factors for injury.


Having good balance could be the difference between enjoying views at the top of the mountain versus suffering an ankle sprain halfway up and needing to turn back.


As a result, balance training is a very necessary step when training for hikes to reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls along the way.


Once again, yoga and pilates are great ways to help improve balance and gain confidence in your movements!


Yoga and pilates recruit small stabilizing muscles in the back, hips, knees, and ankles. Would you like to try a yoga or pilates class at Fix Physio?

Contact us to schedule your class today!


Looking for further advice to meet your hiking needs? Book a physiotherapy assessment with one of our amazing physiotherapists by calling (403)-282-2545 or book online by clicking here! We look forward to helping you make the trek this summer!