Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wow, I Hurt from Backpacking! 9 Ways to Prevent It

"Oh, do I hurt!"

You’ve likely heard and said those words many times after a backpacking trip. That unpleasant feeling of soreness. It can come from just carrying a backpack (sometimes with too much weight in it or not properly fitted) to the harsh terrain day after day on foot and leg muscles not used to such rigors.
An overstuffed pack coupled with the terrain can make you sore

The best way to minimize the painful effects of hiking is to try and prevent it as much as possible.

1. Carry the right backpack for you. Gather your gear together first, then check out backpacks at an outfitter. Make sure the backpack is properly fitted. There are also techniques for how to pack a backpack. to minimize the unpleasantness of weight bearing on tender shoulders. But do expect some pain the first few days. After all, you are doing something you have never done before. It will take time for you to adjust. So be patient with yourself and you will be amazed how quickly your body adapts.

2. Make sure you are not overpacking. Take only what you need. There are ways to cut back on pack weight simply by reducing ounces (which can quickly add up to pounds). While this may not be critical on a weekend venture, over long distances, it can attribute to lots of aches and pains. Look over your gear to see what your need and what you don’t. Have other hikers peruse your list online in trail forums to help you reduce weight. Check out this gear list for backpacking for what you need on a long trip. See the Related Blogs below for other ideas in cut in food, specialty gear, etc. 

3. While hiking, be sure you are drinking plenty of water. Our body is composed mostly of water, and water keeps joints lubricated and less likely to hurt. Carry the means to safely filter your water and bottles to carry it.

4. Eat the right foods like good proteins, veggies, dried fruits, whole grains, and cheese. Avoid useless calories that will do nothing to re-energize or heal achy joints and the micro tears in muscles. A candy bar might give you a temporary sugar boost, but then it makes you drag.

5. Make sure you are wearing the proper footwear for your foot type. Get fitted by a professional. The wrong shoes or worn-out shoes can make your legs feel very achy and sore.

6. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. I tend to crash for at least ten hours because I know during that time, the body is repairing itself. It helps reduce pain. 

7. If your need to, take some pain medicine but don’t overdo it. Advil or other NSAID products can cause wear and tear on your stomach, leading to ulcers. Preventing pain is better than trusting to drugs. If you do need a pain reliever, try the lesser one, like Tylenol. Take turmeric with pepperine also. Do not take narcotics for pain. If you need that much relief, you need to get off the trail and have your affected limb or issue looked at by a professional. 

8. Limit your mileage. Don’t try to be cool and do lots of miles when you're not ready. Take your time to adjust to the rigors of hiking. Stop often to rest, eat a snack, and enjoy a view or a flower. This is about the journey, not the destination.

9. If you feel achy even after limited hiking and it is accompanied by a headache and / or fever, get checked by a doctor. It could be an indicator of Lyme Disease.

Yes, aches and pains can come, but the joy of the trail, the views, the woods, and times with new friends makes it all worthwhile!

Related Blogs:

Lighten that Backpacking Load

Top Three Weight-Loss Challenge for Hikers

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