How Protect Your Hips (And Everything Else) On A Hike
*Some tips may be Marine Corps specific*
“Alright, here’s the load-out for the 25k tomorrow!”
As military women, we’re always up for a good challenge, but I think I can safely say that the majority of us absolutely despise those words. I mean, who actually wants to put on an ill-fitted pack, go “hump” in extreme weather, and practically resign yourself to an injury? The fact that they call it “humping” is yet another reason that it sucks.
Never fear, though, because below I’ve listed some awesome hiking tips that are sure to save your hips! You know they’ll be good because it rhymes.
How To Put The Pack On
This is one thing that a lot of people get wrong. Whether it be due to laziness or lack of strength, I see so many people try to put on a pack like a backpack. They pick it up, swing it onto their shoulder and try to get the other arm through. It’s dangerous especially with a heavy pack, since you could throw your back out, or imbalance your hips.
Here’s the right way to do it:
Step 1: Place the pack on the ground in front of you with the bottom of the pack facing away from your body.
Step 2: Reach through the insides of the straps and grab the handles on the side of the pack.
Step 3: Lifting with your legs, swing the pack over the top of your head, and let go of the handles. The straps should slide comfortably over your arms and come to rest on your shoulders.
Step 4: Clip and strap everything, making sure that it all still fits your body. Readjust as needed.
Cinch That B****
While hiking, the key thing to remember is to keep the weight off of your hips. It’s easy for the straps to loosen and slide down to sit on the pelvis, but it’s almost sure to cause an imbalance in your gait and lead to a repetitive stress injury. Be especially mindful of this if you have a tiny waist, as the straps may not even be able to be pulled that tight. Make sure you have the right sized pack.
The best trick I’ve heard is to lean forward, and hike the pack up as high as possible on your back, almost to the shoulders. Adjust the placement of the straps as needed, and pull tight. Just make sure it’s not so tight as to heavily restrict your breathing.
Once you have everything tightened to your body specifications, roll the excess strapping and tape it. This will make it less likely for the straps to come loose during the hike.
Pack It Right
When you get your load-out, you never want to just throw all your crap in there willy nilly. Plan out how you’re going to pack it. Make sure items with sharp corners are away from your back, the heaviest items are at the top, and that things you’ll need during the hike are easily accessible – think flashlight, food, etc.
Try to compress everything to be as small as physically possible. That way, there will be less bouncing of the pack on your back and you can move that much faster.
I know, you get told all the time to hydrate, but it’s important. Ideally, you’ll always be well-hydrated, but we all know it just doesn’t happen that way. If you get advanced notice for your hike, start hydrating a couple days out.
Hydrating not only lubricates your joints, but it regulates your body temperature and improves circulation. So not only does it prevent injury, but it keeps you from becoming an embarrassing heat case. You might think you want to ride back in the vic, but no one actually wants to ride back in the vic.
I can’t even begin to explain why stretching is so important. For starters, it increases your range of motion, improves posture, and reduces muscle stiffness, all of which help to prevent injuries. Not to mention, stretching decreases muscle soreness, so you’ll be back on your feet in no time.
Stretch the night following up to the hike, before the hike itself, and again after you get back. Stretching your muscles is so critical to their function. If you want more information on stretching, or specific stretches to do, check out this post.
Take Care Of Your Feet
Taking care of your feet is essential. Make sure your boots fit right, and double up on the socks. Carry some mole skin on the hike for if you feel any hotspots. Unfortunately there’s not a lot you can do for your feet once you get out there, but preventative maintenance is key.
Roll your feet out on a lacrosse ball the night before. For even better prevention, freeze a water bottle and roll it out on that. Another tip that comes in handy is to roll out your ankles the night before, and also before a hike. A good way to do that is to imagine writing the alphabet with your foot. It’ll loosen up the muscles and give them a little flexibility, preventing sprains and twists.
So, the bases are covered. Follow these tips, and you’ll be good to go for your next and all future hikes. Is there something I missed? Hit me up, or post in the forum!Share this: