Category Archives for "Hiking"

Summer Activity Series: Hiking

We are very lucky to live in a place surrounded by the natural beauty of British Columbia. As the weather starts to transition into cool fall temperatures and the sun stays shining, it becomes the perfect weather for hikes in our area.  Here are some known benefits of hiking from a physiological perspective as well as tricks to improve your hiking experience whether you’re starting as a beginner or heading into more advanced hikes.

Benefits

  • Improved cardiovascular health including lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk of health disease
  • Associated with enhanced mental wellbeing and lowered cortisol levels (stress)
  • Increases bone strength and density, lowering the risk of osteoporosis
  • Improved balance, flexibility, and coordination

Know Before You Go

  • Common mistakes: sunburns, dehydration, exhaustion → be sure to start small when hiking for the first time and let someone know where you’re hiking and how long you are expected to be there.
  • Be sure to apply sunscreen, bring plenty of water, and snacks even on shorter hikes incase you begin to feel light headed.
  • Always check with your doctor or physiotherapist if you are recovering from an injury or other health issue and you’d like to take on a big hike.
  • Injury prevention: the most common injuries acquired from hiking is knee and ankle sprains. Be mindful of strengthening your ankle in your day to day training to prevent this. Check out our YouTube for video tutorials on some exercises to do to strengthen your ankle and knee.

Ankle Sprains and Strains: Roller Bridges

Ankle Sprain: Lunge Squats

Ankle Sprain Injuries: Split Squats Ankle Strengthening

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

Benefits of Hiking

As summer begins approaching, hiking can be a great low-impact workout to engage in, offering numerous physical and mental benefits. Walking is one of the lowest impact sports around, but with the increased variability that hiking provides, this adds increased difficulty, hence increased health benefits to the activity. According to the American Hiking Society (2013), and Healthy Families BC (2013), a few of the benefits hiking can provide include: 

  • Increased general fitness levels – one hour of hiking can burn over 500 calories depending on level of incline and weight of your pack!
  • Reduced risk for heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels 
  • Improved control over healthy weight, and lowered body fat
  • Improved bone density and osteoarthritis outcomes
  • Reduced stress, improved mood and enhanced wellbeing 
  • Increased flexibility and coordination 

American Hiking Society (2013). Health benefits of hiking. Retrieved from http://www.americanhiking.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Heath-Benefits-of-Hiking-fact-sheet.pdf

Faktor, M. (2013). The health benefits of hiking. Retrieved from https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/blog/health-benefits-hiking

Top 5 Tips for Hiking

If you live in beautiful British Columbia or in any other place with mountains and forests, then hiking up to a stunning view of the city is simply inevitable. Regardless of the varying distances and level of difficulty for each location, it is always ideal to be prepared out in the nature. Here are a few tips to get you started and ready for your next big adventure!

Photo: Cailtyn Dunphy at Garibaldi Lake, Physiotherapist, InSync Physiotherapy 

Tip #1: RESEARCH THE HIKING TRAIL 

Know the distance, duration, accessibility, and current conditions of the trail. A particular trail may not be open to the public or might be susceptible to more dangerous conditions during a certain time of the year. Some trails in the Pacific North West are covered with snow well into June-July. Reading reviews made by previous hikers is always helpful in getting first-hand information on what to expect, what equipment to bring, and how to navigate through a difficult trail. Check out https://www.vancouvertrails.com/ for all the details on different trails in in Vancouver, Whistler, and South Western British Columbia.

Tip #2: CHOOSE THE RIGHT GEAR

Creating a checklist on what to bring will help you remember to bring all the necessities for your trip, especially for beginners or those doing an overnight trip. Water is without a doubt the most important thing to pack. Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks to fuel you through out the hike. Wear proper shoe wear with good ankle support and clothing that will keep you warm and dry. Other important items are a first aid kit, sunscreen, spare clothing, a flashlight, and a map/compass. Avoid including non-essential items as there will be more load to carry. Check out https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/hiking-boots.html to learn how to choose the best type of footwear for different types of hikes.

Tip #3: STRETCH AND KEEP STRETCHING

Pacing out your hike with even breaks in between remind you to drink water, eat snacks, and more importantly, stretch! Long, steep hikes can easily make the muscles tight which can commonly cause injuries to occur. Take a few minutes to stretch out your calves, quads, and hamstrings through out your trip. Check out http://fitlifepursuits.com/dynamic-stretches-for-hikers/ for 5 dynamic stretches you can do before you start your hike.

Tip #4: HIKE ON YOUR OWN OR WITH A SMALL GROUP

Going solo on a hike might not be the most ideal if it’s your first time going out, so being with a few others (4-5 people) may be a better option. Having others to rely on to help with navigation, difficult obstacles on the trail, and keep you mentally focused will provide for a successful and rewarding experience. Once you feel more confident, try hiking on your own! Challenge yourself mentally and physically by navigating through the rough terrain. Whether you go solo or in a group, make sure to set a comfortable pace for yourself and everyone with you. Always have a companion on the trail if there are some people going faster or slower.

Tip #5: HAVE A POSITIVE MENTALITY

There will be times where exhaustion hits your smack in the face or the conditions of the trail frustrate you, but trying to maintain a positive mental attitude will allow you to conquer the journey with a lot more ease. Remember to work as a team if you are in a group and to give yourself mental breaks through relaxing activities such as listening to music, taking photos, reading a book. Remind yourself of the long way that you have come and how rewarding the journey has been. Set realistic short-term and long-term goals for yourself before you start your hike, then revisit them at the end of your trip.

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.