Walking on the treadmill in the gym, confined to the indoors, can get boring very fast. In order to make exercise a habit, it has to be enjoyable and fun. Hiking is a fantastic way to increase cardiovascular exercise while soaking in the fresh air and sunshine of the outdoors. The uneven surface of an outdoor trail engages more muscle groups than walking on a flat treadmill, making for great strength training and muscle toning as well. Hiking is a fun and exciting way to stay healthy and strong.
Still, for new and veteran hikers alike, there are risks to this form of activity. These risks range from minor inconveniences to life-threatening injuries. Take the following precautions from our New Jersey orthopedic surgeons to keep your hiking safe and enjoyable.
- Gear Up. Proper footwear is essential to safe hiking. While well-fitting, specialized hiking shoes are ideal, other shoes with a thick, deep tread with good traction are also acceptable. Thick socks will help keep your feet comfortable and avoid blisters, as well as keep your feet warm. Dressing in layers is helpful as temperatures can fluctuate throughout your hike.
- Plan Ahead. It is important to know your route ahead of time when hiking and to keep a map and compass with you in the event that you take a wrong turn and find yourself lost. A flashlight can also be helpful. Depending on the length and duration of your hike, you may also consider matches, a first aid kit, and food provisions.
- Check In. Letting someone else know when and where you will be hiking and when you expect to return is advisable, especially because, on some trails, cell service can be limited.
- Stay Hydrated. Like any physical activity, hiking can cause you to sweat, and it is important to drink water continuously throughout your hike to avoid dehydration. As a general rule, it is not safe to drink water found in rivers or streams along the trail. Be sure to keep bottled water with you.
As with any new exercise routine, be sure to consult with your doctor before your start if you are new to hiking. If you are experiencing aches and pains after hiking, an orthopedic specialist can help determine the nature of the problem. Contact Advanced Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute today to request an appointment with a NJ physical therapy specialist.
Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute is a medical practice located in Freehold and Monroe, NJ, our medical professionals are experts in orthopedic surgery, joint replacement, sports medicine, integrative wellness, spine care, physical therapy, and more.