Summer Summits – Tips for Injury-Free Summer Hiking

After what has been a rather long and chilly winter, and a dubious spring, it seems summer is finally upon us! Sun and warm weather means there are new adventures and new activities to experience especially living on this beautiful West Coast.

Hiking is a great way to get outdoors for the summer and fully soak in all that is B.C. But before you throw on your hiking shoes, here are 4 quick tips to keep your body happy and healthy (and hopefully injury free)!

1. Be Prepared

Make sure you have the appropriate gear and clothing for the hike. Supportive hiking boots and plenty of water are a good starting point. If you have an existing injury, bring along braces or gear used to help support the injured area. Hiking poles can be a great aid- they distribute your weight more evenly and can decrease load through your joints. They may also be helpful in decreasing muscle soreness and can, therefore, be instrumental in quicker recovery times.

2. Warm up and Cool down

For optimal performance, complete a full body warm up of 5-10 minutes before your hike. This can include a short brisk walk followed by dynamic stretches. It is important to include your upper body in the warm up, especially if you are using hiking poles or carrying a backpack, to prepare your body for the workout ahead.

3. Don’t Push through Pain

Pain can be your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you do experience pain, stop and take a break. If the pain continues, turn around and head back to your starting point. If the pain persists greater than a few days, it may be wise to seek medical advice from your doctor and physiotherapist.

4. Gradual Progression of Hike Difficulty

Be sure to start with short distance and intensity hikes, especially if you haven’t been hiking over the winter months to build your hiking tolerance. This is extremely important before tackling a difficult hike. Vancouver Trails (see link below) does a good job of categorizing easy- hard hikes, as well as short- long distance hikes.

So if you find yourself on the trails this summer, keep these helpful tips in mind to ensure bounds of healthy outdoor fun and exploring for years to come. Remember, always be prepared, listen to your body, and enjoy. Adventure awaits!

Quick links:

Vancouver Trails:

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