With warm weather and summer ahead, you may be looking forward to lacing up your hiking boots and hitting your favorite trails. Hiking is a great form of exercise that can improve your cardiovascular fitness and build muscle. However, it’s important to be cautious and sure-footed during your hike in order to prevent common injuries from occurring such as blisters, ankle sprains or breaks.
Chiropodist Tony Abbott recommends these hiking guidelines to ensure your safety so that you can get outdoors and enjoy your hiking experience. They include:
- Start out on the right foot with proper footwear. Hiking requires little equipment so make the investment of hiking gear where it’s needed most with a proper fit of hiking shoes. Support and foot stability is critical to have in a shoe in order to prevent an injury from occurring. Make sure your hiking boots or shoes provide the right traction and support for your feet.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your hike to keep your body hydrated and your joints lubricated, which will help prevent injury. Consider carrying a bottle of water with you, especially on warm and sunny days.
- Don’t rush. It’s important to not overdo it, especially if you’re a beginning hiker. Start off with smaller distances and gradually increase your pace and time in order to prevent muscle pain, strains and other injury occurrences.
- Prepare. Hiking is a big cardio endurance activity so it’s critical to properly prepare for your hike by taking the time to stretch both before and after. This will help keep your muscles loose, which will help prevent an injury from happening.
- Keep your eyes open. Although this may seem obvious, it’s important to focus on where your feet are landing as a simple misstep due to loose debris or tree roots can easily cause an ankle sprain to occur.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be set for the trail ahead! Chiropodist Tony Abbott enjoys hiking as a way of exercise and participated in the Peak to Peak Escarpment Hike at Niagara, a fundraising hike-a-thon. Contact the Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic if you have any further questions or set up an appointment.
Photo Credit: mimica via rgbstock.com