With Spring upon us and Summer in the air, outdoor activities like backpacking are sure to pop up on your “To-do” list soon! If you don’t take precaution, you could end up hurt and spending your summer indoors streaming movies online.
Hiking is a great activity, because it not only gets you out in nature but also forces you to exercise in a fun way. However, the wilderness can be rough! It’s important to protect your spine while you’re getting in touch with Mother Nature.
Whether you’re backpacking the John Muir trail in California or going to your local park’s trail for the first time, you have to be prepared physically. You can put more stress on your spine than necessary if your body isn’t prepared for strenuous activity.
One of the most common types of hiking accidents is falling. It’s commonly caused from losing your footing on uneven terrain. Falling can cause compression fractures, and other painful spine conditions that are not what you’d call summer fun. Balance poses and stretching daily will help to avoid unnecessary common falls or sprains while hiking.
Best Back Pain Exercises gives some great tips on stretching for back pain, but you can use these techniques everyday! If you’ve planned a hiking trip – make sure your body is physically ready to hit the trail. A week or more before your hike, it’s good to get into an every day routine to prepare your body and back. Yoga poses (when used properly) along with stretching are great ways to improve your balance and flexibility.
Another thing you should take into consideration is your backpack. Depending upon how long you’ll be hiking, you will more than likely need a backpack. Remember to pack light!
Heavy backpacks can influence poor posture and cause spinal compressions. There is a lot of data that recommends your backpack weigh anywhere from 10-25% of your weight, depending upon what kind of shape your body is in. Those in not so good shape should stick to the lighter backpacks. So, if you have a more experienced backpacking friend with you, maybe they could take on a little more. However, always remember the lighter you pack, the better!
Those with previous spine issues or back pain should definitely remember to take it easy! Hiking is a fun summer activity, and no one wants to be stranded in the woods with spinal trauma!