From sea to shining sea, this country offers an abundance of natural beauty to explore. This is your time to discover the wonders that behold and hiking is a great way to do it. If getting started sounds enticing but perhaps seems unattainable because arthritis is holding you back, then keep reading, friends. The fact is exercise is crucial for those with arthritis. In addition to increasing strength, flexibility and energy, improving sleep and controlling weight, it actually reduces joint pain. A sedentary lifestyle with little movement or exercise actually increases the stiffness in your joints. Keeping active helps strengthen the muscles which supports the bones and joints to which they are connected. If the muscles are weak, there’s less support for them, therefore putting stress on the joints.
As always, check in with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen to find the best plan for your abilities. At home, simple movements and stretches like rolling your shoulders forward and backward or reaching for the sky to loosen the arms should be performed daily to help increase your range of motion. These movements are also beneficial before and after a hike. In fact, aim to incorporate movement whenever you can; from walking the dog to sweeping the kitchen floor — even small actions are crucial to helping continue doing what you love the most. You were Made to Move and now is the time to do it. Ready to throw on some shoes and hit the trails? A quick pep talk first: If arthritis is a pesky part of your lifestyle, then you’ll want to begin slowly to avoid overworking your body. Overtime, baby steps can turn into great leaps, so don’t feel discouraged if your body is not cooperating at first.
Things to Remember
Always keep your routines low-impact with activities like biking, swimming and, yes, hiking. Relax joints with stretches and heat for about 20 minutes beforehand. Your heating pad, hot packs or shower should feel comfortably warm, not excruciatingly hot. If it’s painful, it’s too much heat. Always move gently and slowly. Calm, fluid movements can help avoid injury and if you feel any discomfort, take a break. If your joints begin nagging at you, get relief on contact with Osteo Bi-Flex® Pain Relieving Cream
. Our Cream targets pain when and where you need it the most with the benefits of menthol and methyl salicylate— these ingredients are designed to bring temporary relief from pain instantly. Continue to soothe by applying ice after activity for about 20 minutes or as needed. Be mindful of how your body feels and never push yourself too far. Take your time, the only competition here is with yourself to stay active and continue doing what you love.
Hiking with Arthritis
The benefits of hiking are aplenty. For starters, it’s a low-impact and often free way to get moving. It gives you a chance to breathe fresh air, clear your head and reconnect with nature. Studies show those who spend time in nature are statistically kinder, happier and more creative. How’s that for benefits? Best of all, you can move at your own pace, take breaks whenever you need and if you become tired, you can throw your hands up and say “I’m going home now!” and give it another shot tomorrow. In short, there’s no pressure in hiking.
What to Bring on Your Hike
Hiking by definition is a long walk typically in rural areas for pleasure or exercise. Sounds about right! But, let’s clear one thing up right now: It’s a myth that you need a bunch of expensive gear to go hiking. When we think of hiking the big clunky boots, maybe headlamps or hefty backpacks come to mind. Sure, you could sink a bunch of money into this hobby, but there’s no need for special attire or accessories, especially if you’re just beginning. All you really need are a few basics:
- Comfortable breathable clothes
- A charged-up cell phone (crucial in case of injury)
- Sturdy, comfortable shoes with treads for traction
You can throw everything into a lightweight backpack, nothing complicated. If your pack has chest or waist support straps, engage ‘em to distribute the weight evenly for added support. For some additional items to make your experience go seamlessly and enjoyably, throw in a pair of sunglasses, a few bandages just in case, sun block, bug repellant, Osteo Bi-Flex® Pain Relieving Cream
, some snacks like trail mix and perhaps a local guidebook of birds, trees or flowers — who says you can’t turn a hike into a scavenger hunt? They don’t call it “trail mix” for nothing. It’s considered the perfect snack specifically for hiking thanks to the ingredients that provide carbohydrates from the dried fruits and granola, plus protein from the nuts. Not to mention, trail mix is easy to store and has a lengthy shelf life. Did you know trail mix is sometimes called gorp, which stands for “granola, oats, raisins, peanuts”?
Beautiful Hikes Across the Nation
Valuable resources online offer maps, trail navigations, even user reviews of hiking experiences, small and vast. Here are some of the iconic spots in the U.S. for dramatic views: