This is a re-post of an article that I wrote for The More of Me To Love Website. For more info, check out www.moreormetolove.com
(Continued from part 1)
As I said in part 1………..
First, remember the basic tenants to responsible hiking.
- Always tell someone where you are going
- Research the trail
- Take a friend
- Never leave your car without the 10 Essentials.
Simply put- food, water, rain gear, warm clothes, fire starter, compass and map, first aid kit, head lamp, knife, and emergency contact info.
A simple Google search will list the 10 Essentials in more details for you. Just remember that being prepared on the trail is the best way to assure a pleasant trip.
The physical challenges that rounder hikers face can be easily compensated for. These fall into several different categories:
Managing your pace-When you hike, the first thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. It is not a race or a competition. The best thing about being out on the trail is experiencing the smells and sounds of nature, which you cannot do if you are rushing.
If you are gasping for breath, slow down. I have done trails that required me to take a step….stop and breathe…take a step…..stop and breathe. In the end, you will still get to the top of the mountain; it will just be a much more pleasant journey if you respect your body’s natural pace.
Along these lines, chose your hiking partner with care. You want someone that has a similar walking style and speed. Finally, taking rest stops frequently will help you to not only enjoy the hike, but to take in your surroundings.
Knee Health– While all hikers need to take care of their feet and knees, the curvy hiker has to be even more aware. The majority of stress that we are asking our bodies to support can be alleviated in two simple words. Hiking poles. Hiking poles are a girl’s best friend! Not only do they help protect your knees, they also improve your balance. They make crossing a stream on rocks much easier and even give you something to lean on when you get tired.
However, be aware that not all hiking poles are the same. The cheap hiking poles available at many big box stores are fairly worthless. I have seen many cheap poles break under pressure and that could lead to an ugly spill. Good hiking poles tend to start around $80, but the health of your body is certainly worth that, wouldn’t you say?
Foot Health– This is one place where shoe fit is very important. Poorly fit shoes or boots can lead not only to blisters, but to more lingering problems like plantar fascitis and Achilles tendonitis. Many trails can be hiked in a good pair of running shoes. If you decide that you love hiking and would like to move up to a pair of boots, go to a specialty hiking store and have them professionally fit. Again, the health and comfort of your feet are more than worth it.
Also, carry blister treatment and prevention with you on all hikes. If you feel a hot spot coming on, sit down on the trail and take care of it. Don’t make the mistake of saying, “It is only a mile back to the car”. A mile on a hiking trail is longer and harder than a mile on a road. Go ahead and treat the hot spot and you will be on your way before you know it.
Sweating and Chafing – On a little more personal note, sweating and chafing are a major concern. Again, they are concerns for most hikers, but they seem to be a larger source of discomfort, both physically and mentally, for curvy hikers.
When it comes to sweating, I say enjoy it! Revel in the fact that you are moving your body…. exercising it and stretching it. You are doing something athletic and you should be sweating. In terms of keeping yourself comfortable, pin a bandana to the strap of your day pack and let it hang down as you hike. This keeps it handy so that you can wipe off your face as you walk.
Also, remember that light jacket in your pack? The one from the list of 10 Essentials? When you stop for a break, throw it on. Your damp clothing will cause you to get chilled very quickly and that can be dangerous.
Finally, don’t hike in cotton. It absorbs all of that sweat and lets all of your body heat out. Look for performance materials that allow your body to stay warm when they are wet.
Chafing– chafing takes place wherever moisture and rubbing meet. Anywhere you have skin rubbing on skin, chafing can become an issue. This can be the crotch or groin, under your arms, and under your breasts. Chafing can become very painful if not treated.
The best way to avoid chafing is to stay dry. Hmmmm…..not so easy when you are hiking!! Luckily, there are several products you can use to combat chafing. My favorite is Body Glide. It can be found at most sporting goods stores. It looks like a deodorant stick and can be applied anywhere chafing is a potential problem. I truly never leave home without it.
You can also apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly to affected areas. This both prevents and treats chafing. Slather it on before you leave home. A little prevention will go a long way to helping you have a wonderful trail experience!
What is your personal challenge? Comment below and we will visit the topics in a follow up post!
Anna aka Mud Butt