For nature lovers, many of the most memorable moments take place in the great outdoors, whether it’s catching your first trout on a fly rod or summiting a peak. This is also where people often find the most solace, as time in nature can bring a sense of peace. Unless, of course, things go wrong.
Although injuries can’t always be avoided, there are some specific ways to prepare for outdoor adventures that may reduce the risks. Before heading out for your first hike, bike, or paddle of the season, consider these guidelines:
By training your muscles for specific excursions, you are essentially preparing them and reducing your chances of injury. General well-rounded workouts throughout the winter will ensure you’re already in good shape for whatever comes your way. And if you’re into a specific outdoor activity, choose exercises that are aligned. For instance, if you plan on hiking and backpacking, practice hill climbs on the treadmill, or if you’re a kayaker, hit the gym’s rowing machine and build up mileage.
Unless you are super fit, most people need to start out slowly and build up their mileage on the trails or in any adventure, especially for those emerging from winter hibernation. Start small – just enjoy being outside – and slowly increase the difficulty levels on future trips.
It’s also important to start at a slow pace to warm up your muscles, as cold muscles are tighter and therefore more prone to getting pulled or strained. For instance, if you’re going on a 3-mile hike, walk at a moderate pace for the first 10 minutes to warm up. After that, stretch a bit to loosen the muscles up before charging on.
It’s always best to start out hydrated and well-fueled before heading out on an adventure. In addition, staying hydrated throughout your excursion is one of the best ways to naturally prevent injuries, as adequate hydration allows the muscles to function properly and means the tendons attaching muscle to bones will not be overly tight. For adequate water consumption, divide your body weight in half to determine the minimum number of ounces you should drink per day. With greater exertion, the general recommendation is 8 ounces every 20-30 minutes for adults.
Research the terrain and weather patterns before heading into new territory and be equipped with enough water, food, and layers in case the weather suddenly shifts. The best layers repel or wick away moisture from your skin and hold in the warmth, such as wool and cashmere, or polypropylene, along with a waterproof layer to keep you dry.
For insurance questions, call or contact Hicks Insurance Agency & Associates, Inc. today.