I don’t know about you but I think we are pretty lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest where we have copious amounts of wilderness to explore and enjoy. Getting out into nature is an awesome way to get some exercise and refresh your body and mind after a long, stressful work week.
Whether you’re a casual hiker or hardcore enthusiast, the last thing you want is an injury taking you out of commission this summer! Fortunately, there are easy ways for you to stay safe and injury-free while out on the trail. Remember, prevention is key!
Hiking boots: Good hiking boots can really be a lifesaver! What you want is good tread, solid ankle support, and comfy cushioning. So do your homework! Some stores will even have rock-covered inclines that you can test your boots on before you buy! A boot may have all of the above characteristics, but could be completely useless in different terrains, like wet rocky areas. Thus, make sure to read the reviews on any boots you look at as those reviews could reveal important information about anything you need to look out for.
Stick with it: Depending on the degree of difficulty of the trail, a stick or walking pole can help you to keep your balance. This can help to prevent any episodes of falling or stumbling, especially when going downhill. Even if you have never fallen on a hike, flailing around trying to catch your balance can be more harmful than good.
Wear it right: This is important for your back. If you have a pack with hip and chest straps, put on the backpack, loosen all the straps, and tighten the hip belt at the hips (not above) before tightening the shoulder straps. Backpacks should be worn low on the back at the level of the iliac crests. Tighten the strap across your chest for shoulder support last.
Consult a healthcare professional: Hiking on a mountain trail or simply walking on a paved trail requires constant input from the central nervous system so we can adjust our balance accordingly and not fall. If you feel that you are not fit enough to hike this season or if you have a lingering injury that is not seeming to get better, make sure to consult a healthcare professional who can diagnose and correct your specific issue to get you moving better and feeling better.