Many of us will admit to spending hours of sitting for long periods of time, whether it be at your computer or travelling to and from work. This can often leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated to exercise. So, it is important to get away from the screen (and those chairs!) from time to time; and what better way to escape than by going on a walk or a trek!?
I am heading off to Iceland and England to go trekking for a couple of weeks in July and have been preparing for the last few months to reduce my risk of injury, and make sure I can keep up with my fellow trekkers.
So how am I preparing to ensure that my body can withstand the change in pace and avoid injuries while trekking?
Over the next few weeks I will discuss my preparations and provide tips to others who wish to increase their levels of activity with walking, trekking or hiking. I will look at shoe selection, pack selection, clothing, avoiding injuries, and training tips and tricks, including strength, endurance, and flexibility.
This week I’ll focus on selecting the correct footwear.
If you don’t have a history of ankle problems, and you will be walking on a well-worn trail (most popular tourist trails), then I recommend considering hiking shoes rather than hiking boots.
Hiking shoes differ from hiking boots by the amount of ankle support they provide. Your ankle naturally moves while you walk. Extra resistance from a boot around your ankle can make the muscles in your calf and shin work harder. This can lead to overload and injury. Hiking shoes will decrease the workload on your lower legs on the trail and are a suitable option for someone with stable ankles.
However, if you have a known history of ankle instability then hiking boots are a better choice, as they provide your ankle the support and stability not offered in shoes. If you are walking on a trail that might be very rocky or slippery, or are planning to go off-trail with no defined pathway, then hiking boots are your best option. Trickier walking tracks will test your strength and ankle stability, so it’s best to play it safe and wear boots instead of shoes.
I advise improving your ankle stability with exercises in the lead up to your walk.
One of the easiest and most useful exercises to improve ankle stability is the heel raise:
1. Bilateral heel raises: Start in a standing position with your feet at hip-width apart. Keeping your knees straight, rise on to your toes. Return to the starting position, controlling the movement as you lower your heels to the ground.
2. Progress to a single leg heel raises as you become stronger.
Remember to wear your shoes or boots in well before you head off on your journey to iron out any minor issues (and avoid those blisters that can come with new boots!).
For my part, I am taking both shoe styles – walking shoes and boots – and will decide each day which ones to wear depending on the terrain and weather.
#movebetterforlife #trekkingholidays #anklestability #ankleexercises #hiking #walking #planning @trekready