Get ready for hiking season by exercising indoors now | Health |

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If you choose to hike during the pandemic, you are not alone. Data from the Outdoor Industry Association shows that among the soaring penetration rates of all outdoor activities between 2019 and 2020, hiking has increased the most.

If the cold winter weather and short days keep you away from the trails, please don't sweat. The offseason is an excellent time to exercise mental perseverance, endurance, strength and flexibility. Once the ice melts, they can run (run, hike).

Gwen Buchanan, a physiotherapist in Pennsylvania, said that now to spare time from hiking to prevent future injuries, he is preparing to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. The most common hiking problems she saw included ankle and back injuries, and torn meniscus in her knees. Buchanan said that once back on the trail he likes, increasing strength, maintaining balance and endurance can prevent falls and injuries.

Lee Welton is a physiotherapy assistant, certified personal trainer and owner of Trailside Fitness, and recommends that you use the offseason to address your weaknesses and any chronic pain. He said: "If you can sneak in these problem areas for practice, then I think the next hiking season will be better."

If you are unsure of your problem, a physical therapist can determine the source of any musculoskeletal problems. For example, a detailed gait analysis and movement pattern assessment may indicate that your hip pain is from the ankle or back, Buchanan said. Once the physical therapist has identified the underlying problem, the therapist will provide you with appropriate exercises.

Any winter workout plan will depend on many factors, including your fitness level, goals and how much time you can devote to training. Here are some suggestions to help you-most can be done in a warm home.

Buchanan, 50, used the offseason to try out some novel activities, such as tap dancing. She discovered it at the age of 44 and discovered that it requires balance, coordination, ankle strength and cardiovascular endurance-all of which support the physical needs of hiking. However, her main motivation is to have fun-and leave the comfort zone.

She recommends: "Try something you haven't done before." According to Buchanan, the more experience you have with tolerance discomfort, the better you can deal with the inevitable challenges on the track.

Wearing a weight vest does not help you carry a heavy backpack. Buchanan says it can act on almost every muscle in your body, including your core. In addition, it can provide effective exercise without costing your time. She was wearing a 20-pound vest when she saw the patient.

She recommends starting with an eight-pound vest for one hour a day, and then gradually increasing to eight hours a day. Once you feel comfortable, try using a heavier vest and then work for up to 8 hours. (To avoid buying multiple vests, please purchase an adjustable vest.)

Resistance training can help your body prepare for the harshness of the trail, whether you are using weight, dumbbells or household items as a stand-in for traditional weightlifting.

For resistance training sequences that hit most major muscle groups related to hiking, Welton recommends: 10 to 25 lunges per group; 10 to 25 door frame rows per arm; and a group of 10 to 25 calves, according to need to have a rest. Strive to complete this sequence three to five times, two to four times a week, depending on your fitness level and how much time you have.

To align the row of door frames that target your arms and back, stand in front of the open door. Hold the door frame, stretch one arm in front of you, and squat down, maintaining the resistance of your arm while standing. Repeat, grab the door frame with the other arm.

Welton said calf elevations may be "not sexy," but they can prevent ankle sprains by exercising calves, ankles and feet.

Welton said, if you only have time to act, go ahead. "This is just the perfect partner for hiking."

If you feel knee pain (or just hate lunges), increase your stride. According to Welton, you don't need a weight bench or altimeter box. Sturdy chairs, picnic stools, coffee tables, and even a pile of garden pavers or cinder blocks can be used. To increase strength, he recommends lunges or clean and jerk with heavy objects or backpacks.

Do strength training two to three times a week. If your schedule has little or no time for specialized exercise, try frequent short exercises throughout the day. Welton and Buchanan recommend squatting or raising the calf, and leftovers will heat up or sink in the corridors between meetings.

Rue Mapp, the founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, a non-profit organization, said that a strong core helps improve your balance and body awareness, ultimately protecting you from falls and injuries. She said that hiking is not only your legs. This is your whole body. "

Buchanan said that core strength can also protect your back. Without it, hikers will become "sloppy", especially when they are tired. Then, "They twisted and turned around, jumped in some way, and made a hoarse voice: injured back."

Both Welton and Buchanan said that the plank should be a key part of the core program and needs to be modified as needed, for example starting from the elbow. You can also incorporate various changes, such as side panels. Welton said the beauty of planks is that "you don't have to innovate these exercises to make them effective."

The comprehensive offseason plan also includes stretching exercises. According to Buchanan, the expansion of the joint range of motion helps you safely drive on hilly, uneven, rocky and/or slippery surfaces. Otherwise, "when your weight slides and falls in a heavy backpack", "you will hold on to things."

Welton recommends doing gentle yoga classes of 20 to 30 minutes 2 to 3 times a week. If there is too much, then even once a week "is better than nothing."

You can also play solo. One of Buchanan's favorite foot, ankle and calf stretching exercises is to stand on the edge of the steps and let the heels hang down. Welton said the lower dog can also target multiple muscle groups, including the shoulders, mid back and hamstrings. For your back and arms, Buchanan and Welton proposed the child's posture.

Your winter exercise does not have to be effective. "Walking is perfect," Welton said.

To increase the intensity and make it interesting, he suggested holding a "fartlek" meeting. During this unstructured exercise, you will change your pace intermittently to "sneak a few intervals." This helps enhance cardiovascular health (and also gives you the opportunity to wear these new boots before the hiking season begins).

Another way to add fun to walking: wear a backpack or a weighted vest. Welton said that if you are pressed for time, repeating on the hillside can bring you a lot of benefits.

Although you may want to walk and jog slowly, Welton discourages non-runners from doing so due to potential injuries. "You may feel good in three to four weeks, and then suddenly, you start to have shin pain, foot pain and calf pain."

Winter hiking is certainly not a taboo. According to Mapp, as long as you have the right equipment and understand road closures and weather conditions, you may encounter sparsely crowded situations in cold months. Easy hiking can also be used as an active recovery exercise to supplement your harder workouts.

But hiking is not only good for health; the benefits go far beyond the material. Sharing a hike with one or two friends (with masks, of course) provides much-needed social connections. Connecting with nature has great value. As Mapp said: a gentle walk in the woods is "the balm of the soul", "we need it now more than ever."

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