Getting Healthy for Hiking Season

Join me in getting outdoors and getting healthy for hiking season!

Acadia Trail to some more difficult hiking.

One of my first goals.

About a year ago I injured my back.  I’d like to say it was doing something adventurous, but instead I’ll be honest and say it was because I twisted the wrong way while unloading 10 forty pound bags of soil out of the back of my vehicle.  I didn’t feel it right away, and actually, it was about 4 days later when I developed a cough.  I knew something serious was wrong, and was talking to my chiropractor and he had me come right in.  Turns out, the coughing made the disk bulge (which was already injured) and I ended up with a herniated disk.

Long recovery while doing nothing but what my physical therapist told me to do was interesting.  Can I just say, that following orders is not easy?  While I have never been very athletic, I have always been very active.  Lifting 40lb bags of soil was never a problem before. Of course, it wasn’t the lifting that caused the damage, it was the twisting to put them down that did it.   I read a lot, and found it very depressing to just sit around while the sun was shining.

Finally I was able to get in my kayak at the very end of the summer. That was great, but then summer ended, and It took a lot more exercise to work up to being able to snowshoe, and only on flat ground at that.  Well, now its spring again, and I am so anxious to get outdoors.  I need to continue to do my core exercises to build up and maintain the muscles that stabilize my back.  I never, ever want to go through that again!

My plan is to continue on with my core exercises and also start with some short hikes, building up distance in regular increments. That should help me get healthy for hiking season and beyond. After I’ve been able to consistently hike for 8-10 miles at a time, I will start hiking in areas that require some climbing and/or scrambling.

I was really surprised at how hard walking any distance was on my back.  The therapist explained that because people’s hips rotate while walking, it effects the back.  Walk slowly across the room, and you’ll see what he meant.  A very helpful tip for avoiding injury or re-injury, when lifting or reaching for something, is to picture your hips as headlights – and make sure they are always ‘shining’ on what you are picking up, or reaching for.

I plan on keeping track of my progress here, and hopefully you will share tips or questions you may have.  I’m going to be looking at what type of packs and shoes are the most comfortable and helpful.  I need good support in my hiking shoes and a pack that doesn’t put too much weight or pressure on my back.  The next update will most likely be about healthy foods to take on a hike.  I still need to drop some weight I gained while doing nothing, so I will be gathering info on high energy, healthy foods that aren’t too high in calories.

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