Oh yes! Hiking is new cool! Many of us, otherwise couch potatoes are finding their way off to treks on weekends.. It is definitely a very good idea to burn those extra calories from "extra cheese burgers". But guys watch out for your knees.
As with many of us, exercising on weekdays is not always possible due to hectic schedule. So, practically you are losing muscle mass by inactivity on weekdays, sitting for more than 6 hours a day has lot of negative effects not only on heart and lungs but also on muscular-skeletal systems.
And it doesn’t end there; performing physically challenging activities needs lot of muscle strength and endurance, when you have poor strength; the stress starts coming on joints in motion and their degeneration starts faster.
Hiking in particular needs lot of muscle strength in quadriceps and hamstrings muscles of the knee. When these muscles are stronger they can take care of portion of load coming on the knee, this ensures improved physical performance, delayed fatigue and most importantly slowing down of joint wear out.
These muscle groups along with calf and hip muscles are required for hiking and balancing. Weakness or tightness in any of these muscle structures causes undue stress on knee joint leading to knee pain.
What to do to avoid knee joint pain on trekking?
Follow these simple exercises daily at least once a day. Start with these exercises minimum 3 weeks before the trek to build muscle strength. For better results, start earliest and increase exercise intensity gradually.
Hams curls: Lie on your stomach and bend your knee.
Sitting quadriceps contraction:Raise your lower leg up, while keeping the thigh steady.
Hams stretching: In long sitting pose, try to reach the toes keeping your back straight.
Wear comfortable footwear while on hiking.
· Choose pair of shoes which are light weight but give good stability on uneven terrain.
· Medial arch support is recommended, as it gives stability to mid-foot and avoids excess strain on ankle muscles.
· Nowadays, hiking shoes with ankle support are available, one can go for those as well to have greater stability. But you need to confirm that you are not having any pressure points over ankle or else you will end having shoe bites.
· Check out for toe space. It is one of the very crucial aspects when buying shoes. You should be able to move your toes in the shoe when you are wearing it snugly.
· Buying right pair of socks is definitely important. Socks should provide mid arch support. It will be a good idea to wear sports socks which are knee high.