It may seem odd for some to post a how-to for hiking. Just put one foot in front of the other and get going! For some this may be the way to go. For others, it may be beneficial to take some preparatory steps. In our previous blog post, we discussed activities for the summer. Hiking is an amazing summer activity, that can also be carried into other seasons.
If you have been walking on flat ground that is a great start! There are some hiking trails out there that are easier to navigate initially.
Here are some Tips to Ensure Successful Hiking around the Oakville area and Beyond!
This is perhaps the most important tip. The other tips really are part of this tip. As part of risk management we foresee possible issues that may happen and plan accordingly. Within reason.
Plan Your Route
There are many hiking trails a short drive from the Oakville area and even within Oakville. It’s important to know the distance and level of the hike you’re choosing. This allows you to pack snacks, enough water etc. This also allows you to evaluate if you are ready for a trail of a certain level / distance. You may go for walks around your neighbourhood on flat surfaces. A hike with roots, and rocks, and climbs will be more challenging. A 5km hike will feel different than your 5km walk.
Letting a friend / family member know where you’re planning on going is always a good idea, whether you are on your own or in a group.
Have a First Aid Kit
Having even a small first aid kit can prepare you for potential injuries such as scrapes, blisters etc. It’s always advisable to take a first aid course at some point so you’re comfortable in such situations. You are also better equipped to lend a helping hand to others along the course of your hike.
Wear Proper Footwear
This includes shoes AND socks. Wearing proper socks allows protection from any areas of potential friction such as the achilles. Break in your shoes prior to a big hike. You don’t want to get stuck somewhere with bad blisters or other issues. Depending on the route of your hike and the conditions you will likely benefit from proper hiking shoes rather than regular running shoes. They provide more grip and friction on slippery surfaces. If you are unsure of what shoes are best for you, consult with your Chiropodist with what is best for your foot / body.
Prepare Your Body
As mentioned above, walking on a flat surface is different than going on a trail. It’s best to prepare your body for the distance and difficulty of a hike. Picture exercises that help you climb up and down off of things, and exercises that work on balance.
Stay tuned for a future blog post for exercises to help you body with tissue attenuation specifically for hiking. (read: getting stronger).
On a recent hike along the escarpment, I noticed many people close to the edge. They were presumably try to get the perfect instagram shot. Instagram related injuries are difficult to track. I assume there are far more than have been recorded due to embarrassment. Please do not let yourself become an instagram injury statistic.