by Diane Spicer
The importance of healthy hiking: what a vast topic!
Healthy means you're able to meet the challenges and demands of life.
Hiker health means you are able to tackle a trail, AND are eager to do so!
The benefits of hiking - be prepared to be amazed at how many of them there are.
Not every hiking resource will tell you this, but it's not all a bed of roses on the hiking trail.
So as a hiker in a human body, your quest for healthy hiking has one universal theme:
having the tips, techniques and tools
to keep you going on the trail
Luckily, you've stumbled upon a treasure trove of healthy hiking tips.
This page will help you navigate to the topics of interest.
Tip: Bookmark it.
Which of these two camps are you in right now?
Let's begin with a look at the health issues that plague hikers (as if biting insects aren't enough, right?)
On any hiking trail, you put your joints and skeletal muscles through a good work out, and inevitably there will be some inflammation, soreness and pain.
This doesn't necessarily lead to injury, but taking good care of yourself is a great injury prevention hiking habit.
If you're not stretching before and after a hike, please consider stretches as an important prevention strategy.
Too late for prevention, as in OUCH?!!
Use these tips on how to deal with common hiking issues:
For even more hiking self care tips, read this.
Prevent sore feet by wearing the best insoles for your specific issues.
And the best hiking socks! It does make a huge difference :)
Use these tips, too:
It's possible that you are getting post-hike clues that your body is not happy with what's on your feet and your back.
Commit your time and money to the best hiking gear for your style of hiking.
Sad to say, but the reality is that trial and error is what it takes to get the best hiking gear for your hiking style.
Use these tips to dial in the perfect skill set for hitting the trail:
If you are on a two or three hour day hike, you don't need to pay attention to carrying food with you, except for the wisdom of the Ten Essentials (includes "carry extra food at all times").
Everyone else on a hiking trail?
Your hiking food matters!
Get started exploring the wonderful world of tasty, nutritious hiking food here.
Or select your preference from these hiking food resources:
The fact that you're eager to go into areas that are not conquered or civilized (the mountains, the woods, and anywhere in between) means that you trust yourself and your hiking companions.
And that you've discovered that hiking heals.
But it's important to acknowledge and deal with things that you might want to bury in the back of your mind:
If you want to explore the idea of solo hiking and the fears it may bring up, read this.
People of all ages enjoy hitting the trail, and hopefully you will continue to hike into your golden years.
But we all face specific challenges at various times.
A woman's life cycle brings new and different challenges, both on and off the trail!
Recognize yourself in any of these questions?
Are you stressed out in what is often called the prime of your life?
Completely in over your head with work, significant other, school, and other relentless responsibilities?
Are you raising the next generation of hikers, and want to teach them
tricks and tips for strong hiking bodies?
Or are you past the child rearing years, and as an older hiker, interested in some tips to keep you on the trail for many more seasons?
Regardless of your age, hiking makes you happier along with the obvious cardiovascular and strength benefits.
Just getting started as a healthy hiker?
Pay close attention to hiking foot care.
Try new nutritious hiking foods on your next adventure.
Pay attention to your hygiene.
Keep a trail journal or hiking log, noting what makes you feel fantastic.
Switch up your hiking pace so your heart rate is variable and your exertion level is appropriate to the terrain.
Don't think that you'll get your gear and clothing combinations right on the first try. It will take lots of mileage before you sort out what works for you, and what doesn't.
Develop healthy hiking habits like these, and you'll be in great shape to tackle any trail.
This question refers to the importance of a conscious, daily investment of energy to build good habits around the 4 aspects of being a strong and confident hiker:
Are you surprised to hear that what you do in your daily life impacts your trail time? It does!
Here are all of the details about how to stay healthy as a hiker, from four different perspectives.
And here are some product recommendations, sourced from a store called Pharmaca.
Regardless of your motivation for seeking information about hiking health, you've come to the right place.
As a hiker with 5+ decades of trail time, I've been through a lot of physical and mental challenges.
In fact, I've had to give up my hiking plans at times in order to deal with them and heal them.
So these hiking tips are based on actual experience, plus solid scientific facts, and reliable resources:
And let's not forget my motivation for this website: as a weekly hiker, I'm highly motivated to figure out what's going on with my own body when I get signs of inflammation, muscle strains, or just new aches & pains.
Trail time is my nirvana! And I'm guessing we're trail sisters of the heart, or you wouldn't be reading this ;)
Because I can't help myself!
The way I see it, once you've lived on the planet at least 60 years, it's time to give back to the human hiking community.
And it's also why I offer the following...
I'm not a medical doctor, so don't expect medical advice about medications or treatments.
Instead, expect an empathetic ear and some trail tested strategies and tips to try.
Looking forward to "meeting" you!
Oh, and one more thing: I like to hear from other hikers willing to share their unique insights into healthy hiking.
So if you have some tips for healthier hiking, send them to me via this CONTACT link.
Thanks for sharing!
It makes all of us better, healthier hikers.
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Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer.
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