Many of us spend days at the computer, travelling to and from work or sitting for long periods. It is important to get away from the screen and that chair, and there is no better way to help with this than to go walking or trekking.
So how can you prepare to ensure your body can withstand the change in pace, keep up with your fellow trekkers and avoid injuries while trekking? In this first of a series of four blogs, we will look at shoe selection and ankle stability. The remaining three blogs will look at pack selection, avoiding injuries, and training including strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Choosing the right footwear for successful trekking
If you don’t have a history of ankle problems, and you will be walking on a well-worn trail (most popular tourist trails) then my best footwear recommendation is to consider hiking shoes rather than hiking boots.
As you walk, your ankle naturally moves. Having extra resistance from a boot around your ankle makes the muscles in your calf and shin work harder to move the ankle. This can lead to overload and injury. Hiking shoes, as opposed to boots, will decrease the workload of your lower legs on the trail.
However, if you have a known history of ankle instability then boots are a better choice for you as they provide ankle support and stability that you will not get from shoes alone.
Hiking or trekking boots will be necessary if your walking trail is going to be very rocky or slippery, or if you are going off the trail with no defined pathways. These conditions will test your strength and ankle stability so if you are concerned then you are best to wear boots over shoes.
Improve your ankle stability with one simple exercise
One of the easiest and most useful exercises to improve ankle stability is the heel raise:
1. Bilateral heel raises: Start in a standing position with your feet at hips-width apart. Keeping your knees straight, rise on to your toes. Return to the starting position, controlling the movement as you lower your heels to the ground.
2. Progress to single leg heel raises as you become stronger.
Please remember to wear your shoes or boots in well before you head off on your journey to iron out any minor issues.
Good luck on your next trip, let me know how your feet fare, I’d love to hear from you, Deb.