25 October 2010 ~ 2 Comments

Exercise Tips from Hikers – Part 2 of 2

Continuing the review of the exercises I found in the BackPacker Magazine.   In the previous  blog post I commented on 6 of the 11 or so exercises.  So, starting in the left top corner and going clockwise we ended at the bottom of the page (Treating Muscle Cramps).  Moving on clockwise:

7.      Banishing Blisters.  Always good to read about the current thinking  – to pop or not to pop blisters?  I am sure this question has come up for most of you, even if it hasn’t exactly kept you up at night.  Seems it was settled in a much earlier BackPacker article.  And Yes you should pop blisters as long as:

  •       You do it the right way and ensure you keep the area clean;
  •       Do not puncture burn blisters

Of course the best strategy is to take steps to prevent blisters (when running, hiking, dancing etc).  The article mentions the obvious (shoes that fit), some newer topical cream/gel options and the caution to “tape a hotspot” as soon as you feel it.  Stores like REI (even Target) have an overabundance of tape and specialized blister preventive choices.  I recommend deciding on one or two kinds and keeping them with you for those hiking trips – it’s great to have a choice when those hotspots hit!

8.       Preventing and Treating Shin Splints.  Runners, hikers, dancers can all develop shin splints – all from overtraining; not knowing when to rest up!   The exercises suggested for treating this condition are good for general strengthening of  calves and ankles.  Following a sprained ankle when I came off second best against a wave (I was learning to surf), the Physical Therapist had me doing strengthening and stretching.  So here are some additions to the article:

  • Walking on heels and then walking on toes;
  • Do the side “grapevine”* walk while  toes – both directions;
  • In a seated position with legs straight out in front, wrap a towel/band around balls of feet and pull feet toward body keeping back up straight and legs straight;
  • Do calf raises on the Bosu.

8.    More on the Core.  The article suggests the plank and the side plank to strength abs, hips and back.  My view is we are all familiar with the plank so here are variations:

  • In the plank position balance on a single leg.
  • In the plank position raise one leg and opposite arm (straight out in front);
  • In the side plank position raise up the top leg, (use the free arm to stabilize you initially till you feel comfortable).

10.  Balance and Stability.   The around the clock lunges are not just for “handling uneven terrain” when hiking.  This is a great exercise to improve stability in general.  A couple of things to remember:

  • For the leg that is lunging, keep your knees pointed  over your toes, i.e. knees  in line with the toes;
  • When lunging forward or to the sides, keep knees behind the toes, else you put a huge strain on the knees;
  • Keep your upper body stable – don’t let your hips get uneven  (one higher than the other);
  • Want more challenge?  Close your eyes.  (Don’t try this if you are at all unsure, if you have any injuries, or with furniture in your way).

11.  Stretch to Avoid or Help Cure Outer Knee Pain.   The stretch suggested in the article is good – just don’t overdo it.  A small/little stretch goes a long way.  However the “throwaway” line in parentheses (“….try one-legged squats”) offers no guidance!!  So here it is  –   I spelled it out in Part 1 and repeat it here to save you looking for it:

  • Single leg quarter squats.  No weight; stand on right leg with left lifted and slightly in front of you; arms in front for balance; stick your butt out and bend the right leg (as though trying to sit).  You only have to go a little way – hence the name “quarter squat”!!  Then straighten  the right leg and tighten your gluts.

See the comments above about “knees in alignment with toes”, and “knees behind toes”!  Both very important.

There were only 11 exercises in the article, that is why there are 5 in this post.    If you have questions or would like to add your own favorite exercise, email me (info@sixpackatsixty.com) or post a comment on the blog  –  or on the Facebook page where this post gets copied automatically. 

*   The “grapevine”:  Start with legs together; step out to the side with right leg; step left leg across and behind right; step out to side with right and bring left leg across and in front of right.  Keep repeating these 4 steps across the room.  Then return in the opposite direction (starting the step out with the left leg) returning to starting point.

2 Responses to “Exercise Tips from Hikers – Part 2 of 2”

  1. Rushmore Bonus 13 November 2010 at 7:16 pm Permalink

    Great Post! Thanks

  2. Danial Janke 18 November 2010 at 10:38 am Permalink

    I always like to have a read about such things, my blog is related if you want to have a look round it please feel free. I have added yours to my bookmarks.

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