A foot injury is the most common type of injury that you are likely to deal with. Your feet are your most valuable asset on the trails; they are the ones taking the beating every day, getting you to those mountaintop heights. You need to make sure you are taking special care of your feet.
Fortunately, there are several preventative methods you can take to ensure your feet will be happy on the trails:
What's the difference, anyway? A sprain is the twist of the ligaments of a joint, most likely occurring in the ankle. A strain is a pull or tear in a muscle or tendon, most commonly seen in the hamstrings among hikers.
There are some simple things you can do to prevent sprains and strains from happening. Start your hike off at a slower pace so that your body has some time to warm up. It is also a good idea to do some stretches to prepare your muscles for your hike. Make sure to include your ankles, hamstrings, and quads. Fitness For Freedom has an awesome hiking warm-up to get you ready for the trails.
Exhaustion and dehydration go hand in hand. If you are not fueling your body with enough H2O, then you will quickly become fatigued. Both fatigue and dehydration are a recipe for a miserable hiking experience. This can easily be avoided by planning ahead of time how you will stay hydrated, and preparing calorie-dense food to carry with you on the trail. Remember, you will be burning a lot of calories, so your body needs to fuel up!
The best way to avoid joint, hip, and knee pain is to prepare your body for the hike. Choose well-cushioned shoes and make sure your body is ready to handle the distance and level of difficulty of the hike you will be doing. Always do some stretches before, during, and after your hike, and consider using trekking poles or sticks for support. Don't ever hesitate to take a rest break if you start to feel fatigued.
Cuts and scrapes can easily happen anytime and anywhere, especially on the trails where branches and briers surround you. These are common injuries and not always the easiest to prevent, but you can take precautions to protect your body from cuts and scrapes. Always watch where you are going and be careful when walking on uneven ground to stop yourself from falling.
Bug bites are a common nuisance among almost everyone who spends time outdoors. The best way to prevent these foes from attacking your body is to wear clothing that covers the entire skin. If it's really bad, you may even want to wear a mosquito net over your head! Additionally, find a good repellent that contains DEET, and spray it on your clothes and skin before leaving for your hike.
One of the best times to hit the trails is when the beautiful sun is shining. This, however, often means we are at risk for getting sunburnt if we don’t take precautions in caring for our skin. I’m sure many of us know first-hand that sunburns can be quite miserable and uncomfortable… especially the dreaded sunburn itch. Trust me, you want to steer clear of that one!
To prevent getting a sunburn, make sure you apply sunscreen every few hours during those long hikes. Also, consider wearing long sleeves and pants to protect your skin as much as possible. If you do find yourself with a sunburn at the end of the day, Aloe Vera will be your new best friend. Your skin will thank you for it.
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