There’s something almost sensual about walking in the woods when the colorful tree leaves fall to the ground and crunch under foot or bike tires. It’s like a gift given to the explorers of wilderness beauty.
Unfortunately, even though you may have once been an avid hiker, time takes its toll on us all. A rutted and rocky terrain is no longer as easy to navigate. If you haven’t been hiking for a few years, but plan to start again, try going in a group, and beginning at a lower level than you were when you last hiked. This tactic helps you regain footing, and you’ll quickly, and safely, get to the level you were at previously.
Going on a group hike is a safer approach than going alone. If by any chance you sprain an ankle, someone will be there and can apply an Ace bandage so you can walk back to your vehicle without making the injury worse. Don’t underestimate a strain or sprain. If you ignore it, you could suffer stretched ligaments that will eventually cause the area to become unstable or loose.
On a more positive note, quick medical attention to a possible sprain will lower the risk of ongoing injury.
Once a doctor has advised proper care for a sprain or strain, it usually involves rest, elevation of the injured body part and the application of ice for 10-20 minutes every hour for at least a few days. The sprained limb will be weaker during the healing process, so stay away from strenuous activities for at least six weeks before resuming your usual sports activities.
If you’ve been sedentary for more than a matter of months, take it easy at first. It may take a longer time to hike your route, but there are so many beauties to admire as the leaves turn, you might not mind the extra time at all!
Just remember, carry more water in your back pack than you think you’ll need, carry a compass and learn how to use it, and take a flashlight with you on every hike, because you never know when it will come in handy.
Wina Sturgeon is an active 55+ based in Salt Lake City, who offers news on the science of anti-aging and staying youthful at: adventuresportsweekly.com. She skates, bikes and lifts weights to stay in shape.
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