We all know that exercise is good for the body, but some outdoor excursions can be rough on your joints. This is especially true for big guys like us.
Fortunately, it doesn't mean that you have to give up your favorite past time. Just take a few precautions along the way. In this post, we'll briefly discuss a few simples ways to keep your joints healthy while hiking.
Nuts and Berries
There's a reason trail mix is so popular among hikers. A variety of nuts and berries provide the perfect nutritional balance that your body needs while hiking. This is especially true for joint health.
Of course, you don't necessarily have to buy trail mix. You can just add a few fresh berries and nuts (not necessarily mixed together) to your stash.
Several berries are well-known to improve joint health. Blueberries are rich in polyphenols, a micronutrient known to help ease joint pain. And according to Dr. Axe (longtime associate of Dr. Oz), strawberries can help reduce inflammation and arthritis pain.
Added bonus: strawberries are also good for your eyes.
Taking the Pressure off with Trekking Poles
We get it (better than most): the less you have to carry during your hikes, the better. Most of us are stubborn about using trekking poles because they just add to the crap that we have to carry. But consider their benefits: when sized properly, trekking poles can significantly reduce the compression on your knees - especially when hiking downhill.
They can also help tone the muscles in your arms and legs, which takes even more pressure off of your most commonly used joints.
Just ensure that your trekking poles are the right height.
When hiking, properly fitting footwear is everything. Your ankles, knees, hips, and back will be impacted; whether that impact is good or bad depends on your choice of shoes. So if you normally wear wide fitting shoes but can't find them in your size, don't try to wear regulars. Improperly fitting shoes can also lead to more falls, which will certainly put more pressure on your joints.
And remember, if you're exploring a trail for the first time, always wear a pair of boots. Trail running might be your thing, but you never know how the terrain could change on a new trail. Boots are designed to trek it all, whereas hiking and trail running shoes may not be enough.
For longer day hikes or backpacking trips, consider insoles. They provide more comfort and can help ensure proper heal alignment. This can help protect your ankles and even work to prevent blisters.
Finding Essential Gear in the Right Size
We get it better than most: finding the right gear can be a challenge for big guys. Fortunately, we're here to change that! If you can't find it anywhere else, give us a try. If you STILL can't find it, let us know and we'll do what we can to get it.