Are you a hiker experiencing pain? Are you interested in hiking more, but would like stay injury free? If so, Girl Fit Physical Therapy can help! Our physical therapists can help treat injuries sustained from hiking, as well as provide exercises to help reduce risk of injuries while hiking. We’d love to help you stay safe while on the trails this fall!
There are many things that you can do before and after a hike to help reduce the risk of injuries.
It is important to make sure that you warm up prior to starting your hike. A dynamic warm up has been shown to be an effective way to warm up before exercising. A dynamic warm up is one where you move your body through a series of stretches. This is different from static stretching which involves holding one pose for a period of time. A dynamic warm up helps to increase blood flow to your muscles which helps prepare them for exercising. It also helps to gradually increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
After hiking it is important to perform a cool down. This can be done by performing static stretches, or holding different poses for a set amount of time. Static stretching can help to lengthen the muscles and prevent them from getting too tight after working out. This is best done immediately following a workout. Make sure you perform some stretches prior to getting in the car and driving home! Foam rolling or using a hand-held roller can also help after working out to reduce muscle soreness. Leave a roller in your car so you can massage your muscles before heading home from your hike!
Making sure that you have good equipment for hiking is also important to help prevent injuries. If carrying a backpack, make sure the straps are tightened and it is not sitting too low on your back. Many hiking backpacks are also made with hip belts which can help decrease the weight of the bag on your upper back and shoulders and can be a great way to reduce back and neck pain while hiking. A well fitting pair of supportive shoes or boots can help to decrease ankle and foot injuries. Finally, hiking or trekking poles can be used to help maintain balance on uneven trails.
Hiking is a whole body workout! Cross training can help to strengthen muscles that are needed for hiking while adding some variety into the repetitive movements your body is performing. A physical therapist can help set up an individualized exercise program that targets the most important muscle groups. Your PT can also help you choose a healthy mix of cross training activities. Building strength and endurance through cross training can help reduce the risk of injuries.
If you are experiencing pain with hiking, physical therapy can help! During an initial evaluation, your physical therapist will look at many important components of your movement, including your posture, muscle strength, and balance. They can also look at muscle tightness and how your joints move. Plan to bring your hiking backpack to an appointment so your physical therapist can help to adjust the straps to a good position and check your posture with the additional weight of your pack. Based on what is found during your initial evaluation, a physical therapist can then help to guide you through exercises to help build strength and get you back on the trails you love!
For more information on how Girl Fit can help with pain related to hiking, or to schedule an appointment, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call the office at 617-618-9290 to set up a physical therapy evaluation or wellness visit with one of our physical therapists.
Maggie Curtis PT, DPT
Follow us on Instagram @girlfitrocks