With the warm weather comes mountain biking, hiking, baseball and all of the other great outdoor activities. One of the last things we want to happen is an injury just as we’re getting started with the summer season but this is when we’re at the highest risk. Fortunately there are a few strategies that can cut down that risk dramatically.
The first strategy is proper preparation. If you’re planning to do a lot of hiking, but you haven’t done any training before you take a week long hiking trip – plan to be in pain. The best thing here is to do exercises to strengthen the joints that are going to be most used, whether that is the ankle, shoulders, hips, etc.
You can do this with a combination of weight lifting and cardio in the gym and easing into the basic movements of your activity. The best training is, of course, in the actual activity you plan on doing – which is why it’s good to start with lighter versions of the activity, like a 1-2 hour hike increasing increments before starting your week-long trip. Stretching and other self-care activities such as getting a massage or an Epsom salt soak are also a great supportyou’re your recovery from any activity that is particularly tough on our body.
Another consideration is nutritional status. Every cell in our body requires specific nutrients to function optimally. Specifically we’re thinking about our muscles, tendons and cardiovascular system. Without the proper minerals our muscles will tend to cramp up which may lead to inflammation. As a result, we are then unable to push ourselves as hard, recover quickly and, thus, will run out of energy faster.
Taking all of this into consideration, now is a great time to check your nutrient status by having lab work run so you can function at your peak.