Hiking And Joint Health

Joint HealthAn active person is typically very interested in maintaining his or her joint health. Hiking is one of the most popular activities to do in Arizona, and with good reason. Here’s what you should know about its impact on your body before you add it to your activity list.

Enhanced Mobility & Comfort

The best thing about exercise is its positive effects on the body. Weight management, stress relief and cardiovascular health are all benefits of hiking and similar activities. The movement keeps joints fluid and lubricated, resulting in more comfortable motion and less joint pain. Hiking is an advantage over simply walking due to the extra muscle groups that are engaged when going over uneven terrain, up and down hills, through sandy landscapes, and carrying the extra weight of adequate water and equipment for the activity. These strengthened muscle groups are then more supportive of your joints, and will neutralize more of the stress that gravity and force place on your skeletal system.

Potential Injuries

The majority of the joint health issues caused by hiking are due to improper footwear, and lack of attention to your surroundings. Before taking on hiking as a new exercise, speak with a footwear specialist to ensure you have the correct footwear. Hiking shoes or boots should support your ankle as well as your foot, provide excellent shock absorption, and fit properly. Pay attention to where you are stepping, and leave your phone in your backpack. Being distracted by text messages may result in a harmful fall! Be aware of holes, rocks and sudden drop-offs. And keep activity within your skill level and preparation. For example, taking on a steep mountain may not be a good choice if you are wearing the wrong shoes.

As with any activity, it’s best to stretch and warm up before beginning a hike. Be prepared with adequate water, a light source, compass and a solid exit strategy. Hiking is great for joint health as long as the appropriate caution is taken. Talk to your orthopedic specialist for more information about exercise and your joints.

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