Regular exercise improves your health and lengthens your life. But this doesn't mean you have to spend long hours within the walls of a gym or be confined to the sidewalks of your neighborhood. Hiking is an excellent way to break up a monotonous exercise routine and get away from the stress of daily life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Canada's Physical Activity Guide, you should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise nearly every day of the week. A brisk two-mile (about 3.2 km) hike over level terrain is enough to meet this goal, but even walking at a more comfortable pace can have short- and long-term benefits for your health.
Hiking in the great outdoors can bring a sense of adventure to your fitness routine. However, because you can be faced with uneven terrain and steep inclines, often while wearing a heavy backpack, you need to make sure you are prepared and take some simple precautions. Otherwise you could be faced with muscle and joint pain, ankle sprains, or knee and lower back pain.
A comfortable pair of well-fitting hiking shoes is essential to keep you from spraining an ankle or getting blisters. A set of trekking poles may also be a good idea if you are hiking on especially steep or rocky trails. They can help reduce the amount of impact on your knees and ankles while walking downhill.
If you plan on going on a strenuous trip, make sure you are in good enough physical condition first. You will need to prepare for at least a month by doing strengthening and conditioning exercises. Even if you aren't planning on walking up hills or mountains, through streams and over rocks, doing exercises that help improve your stability, coordination and balance can help you keep your footing on the trail and prevent ankle and knee injuries.
If you have never been hiking before or are hiking in unfamiliar territory, start with short excursions to build up your stamina and get the lay of the land. Also make sure to take regular breaks to keep yourself hydrated.
For more great hiking tips or to discuss the benefits of having an injury prevention assessment before you hit the trails, you should talk to the trained, licensed physiotherapists. If you have already been hurt while hiking or participating in another physical activity, one of our physiotherapists would be happy to assess your injury and create a program that will get back on your feet.
ProActive Rehab & Sport Injury Centre is your centre of choice for effective injury management and prevention in a professional, relaxed, motivating environment . We will guide you along your way to reaching your full potential! ProActive Rehab is a multidisciplinary rehabilitation facility located in the heart of downtown Huntsville Ontario. We offer a wide range of services including physiotherapy, massage therapy, occupational therapy, aquatherapy and post-rehab aquacise, cardiac rehabilitation, custom foot orthotics, braces, supports and rehab products. We pride ourselves in being the centre of choice in north Muskoka for exemplary customer service, professional and effective rehab programs and experienced staff all in a relaxed and motivating environment!