What should I know about hiking?

Hiking is a great way to stay, or get in shape. If you’re going to start hiking, make sure you know the trails, and always err on the side of safety by bringing a partner along. Secondly, a good set of hiking shoes is a great addition when start. Good shoes will protect your feet and prevent injury. Last, make sure you bring along proper hydration and/or nutrition if you’re going for an extended hike.
Jane Milliff
Physical Therapy

“Hiking downhill is harder than going up– I’m always on guard and if there’s any scree, I slip.” says my friend.

“Besides, my back gets tight and sore. If only I could hike uphill for an hour or so, then paraglide down, “she says laughing.

“Try leaning forward a bit.” I say.

“What?? That seems counter-intuitive.”

Hiking downhill can be harder than it seems. You may be so afraid of falling, that you lean back, trying to avoid careening down the hill. Your back is arched so your shoulders end up behind your center of gravity. This is exactly what not to do. This is exactly what puts you on the backs of your heels and makes it likely you will land on your backside. In an attempt to slow yourself down, you actually decrease control. With your weight on the heels, you are stepping on the proverbial banana peel and setting yourself up for a fall.

Try this instead: Tune in to your sternum, (breastbone). Where is it? Is it pointed up towards the sky or angled down, perpendicular to the ground? If your chest is out, your back is arched and your weight is on your heels. A little loose gravel will be your undoing.

Keep your chest perpendicular to the ground as you descend so your weight is evenly distributed on the soles of your feet and your back is neutral. Now you have control. Now you will feel more comfortable – in all ways – as you hike.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.