Proper Hiking Practices to Avoid Injuries
If Your Body Aches…Pay Attention!
By: Ryan Krane, Fitness Consultant and CES (Corrective Exercise Specialist)
Ryan is always surprised at the number of weekend warriors he meets at his speaking engagements, who don’t seem to understand how important it is not to overexert themselves.
Don’t Let a Great Day of Hiking Cause a Lifetime of Pain
George is a “weekend hiker”. His job requires him to work long hours and thus prohibits him from exercising during the week, so on weekends he plans challenging hikes. Recently, George had a four-day weekend and decided he would devote it all to hiking with his buddies. The first day was tough, but he got through it.
The second day George was still recovering from the first hike. His lower back was aching, and his thigh muscles were unusually tight, but he trudged on. The thought of turning back was not an option—no matter how much it hurt.
When George returned home he collapsed, too tired to stretch. The next morning he could hardly move. He called me and wanted to know how could this happen?
I hear George’s story all the time when I speak before groups of people who think they can overexert themselves on weekends without putting undue stress on their bodies. Like George, they don’t prepare their bodies for this grueling routine and don’t bother stretching afterwards. Your muscles can only take so much punishment before they start aching.
Pain is our body’s way of telling us that something is not right, whether it’s our positioning, our posture, our core strength; whatever it is, it is not working correctly.
George and I have been working together to strengthen his adductor and groin muscles so that this type of injury can be avoided in the future. Here are two of the corrective exercises we are using to get George back into optimum shape and avoid another hiking trauma.
Adductor (Inner Thigh)—Place your legs double your shoulder width apart while keeping your feet facing forward and lean towards your right side. I recommend holding this stretch for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Groin—Get down on the ground (in butterfly position) and have the bottom of your heels facing each other. I recommend holding this position for 30 seconds.
Before trying these exercises, view my video, “3 Stretches for a Quicker Step”.
If George continues with the program, he will be able to resume an exhilarating, but pain free hiking routine in the near future.
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Tips and tricks like these are important practices while hiking at Runyon Canyon. Runyon Canyon is a beautiful place, don’t let your memories be tainted because of injuries and pain from easily-avoidable injuries. Many think that Runyon Canyon doesn’t have trails serious enough to cause injuries but they are wrong. Runyon Canyon offers amazing hiking trails that can accommodate any training level for any experience-type hiker. Lets stay safe out there everyone and avoid injuries at all cost – take a few minutes before you hike and practice some proper stretching techniques like the those discussed in this article. Better safe than sorry!
We will see you at the top of Runyon Canyon soon!