Stop Hiking Pain in Its Tracks: 5 Tips to Keep You Pain-Free
- by Stephen Touhey
Back, shoulders, hips, and feet are common pain sources when hiking. Our bodies are carrying a load and negotiating the trail for hours. To keep your body in tip-top shape and reduce injuries, we must take action to remain pain-free. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike!
1. Strengthen Your Feet
The single-leg heel raise is one of the best ways to gauge your foot strength. Begin by standing on one foot. Raise your heel so that your weight is on the ball of your foot. If this movement causes pain, you may have posterior tibial tendonitis. Go through a few exercises before your hikes, such as a calf wall stretch, hamstring wall stretch, and shin muscle stretch. Check out these stretches from Harvard Medical School.
2. Your Backpack Could Be the Culprit
Too much weight or a maladjusted backpack could be the source of back and shoulder pain. Ambitious hikers tend to load up heavy causing undue pain and misalignment. According to Backpacker.com, a backpack should not exceed 25-30% of your body weight. Pack your lightest items first, such as your sleeping bag & clothes, followed by heavier items. Neither shoulder should be pulled in either direction. Instead, the weight should be at the center of your back and the hips should primarily support. When buying a backpack, consider going in person and have someone help you adjust the backpack perfectly.
3. Fortify Your Core & Hips
Many muscles & tendons attach to the hip making it a complex joint. Therefore, it is liable to many different complications, causing pain when you hike.
Strengthening your core and glutes can fortify the load your hips can bear. It will also help your posture from misaligning when carrying a load. Hip thrusters, squats, Pilates, and kettlebells are just some of the myriads of exercises that can help fortify your core & glutes.
Stretching your hips before hiking is also a healthy and necessary practice to make sure your hips don’t get tight. By stretching a few minutes before and even during your hike, you’re helping to stay loose and pain free. Healthline.com has a few helpful stretches such as the Hip Flexor Stretch, Butterfly Stretch, and the Pigeon Pose to name a few that are simple and effective!
4. Make Sure to Eat & Drink Well
So often we get ready to exercise and forget about what we truly need - healthy snacks and water! These items can be heavy to carry along but are imperative to ensure a safe hike. REI Co-op has a full list of food ideas and meal planning to nourish and strengthen you. Make sure you’re also drinking and snacking before you need it. Hiking burns a lot of calories and can dehydrate you quickly, especially in warm weather. Use a camel backpack or hip belt to refuel with ease.
5. BioActivate Pain Relief Patches
Aches and pains come and go but taking medication can have negative side effects. Bio-frequency body patches provide relief from pain and discomfort naturally. Whether you are preparing for your hike or resting at the end of the day - BioActivate’s Pain Relief Patches are water-resistant, last up to 48 hours, and reduce inflammation, joint, and muscle pain at the source. They even support muscle recovery and relieve headaches. Add these patches to your hike or daily workout and say goodbye to pain, holistically.