Hiking- Injury Prevention
It’s hiking season, and we (and our dogs) are loving it! Since MountainFit is all about injury prevention, we want to share with you our best tips for preventing hiking injuries this season.
- Proper Footwear- Are your shoes too tight? Or are they so old that they’ve grown a size? How's your tread? Wearing properly fitted footwear for hiking is key for having a pain-free and fun hike.
- Go Up, Not Forward- when it comes to stepping up onto objects such as big rocks, think of moving up onto it vs. forward and across it. This is important because it will require you to activate your gluteal muscles. Your glutes are stronger than other lower body muscles and help you keep your balance. Firing your glutes and stepping up (not forward) will also take pressure off of your hip flexors. NOTE: and when you concentrate on moving forward, ignite your forward step from your lower abdominals vs. your hip flexors.
- Prepare for Muscular Endurance- Whether you’re a seasoned local hiker who climbs Berry Picker every weekend, or you’re in town for a quick trip and want to try some short, flat hikes, muscular endurance is what keeps you going. Are there ways to train for muscular endurance besides just getting out and hiking? You betcha!
TRY this MountainFit favorite: Stand on the flat side of a BOSU ball. Squat for 30 seconds and then hold a deep squat for 30 seconds. Complete again for 20 seconds, and then 10. Rest. And then build back up- complete sequence for 10, 20 and then 30 seconds. Want to make it more challenging? Hold a 4-8lb medicine ball.
- Knee Flexion- When walking downhill, keep a slight bend in your knee when planting your foot and land heel to toe. This will help you absorb impact while descending and will allow you to use your muscles to decelerate you vs. your bones (which isn’t always so safe)
- Arms- When traveling uphill, don’t feel the need to use your arm swing to propel you up the mountain- you’re probably wasting energy. Arm swing can be more of an advantage downhill than uphill. So use your legs, and keep your arms light on the way up. We LOVE using poles for our hikes. It allows us to travel more safely downhill as well as improve our upper body circulation. Swollen fingers on the trails? Us too. Grab some poles.