It is finally cooling off and living here in Arizona presents us with unique hiking opportunities. We can hike Thunderbird Mountain which is just so close to our home, but we could even drive to Flagstaff and try our skills on Mt. Humphrey’s which is the tallest mountain in AZ with an elevation of 12,633 feet. Hiking in general can yield many advantages. It is considered a cardio vascular exercise and unlike the monotone paddling on a stationary bike, it can be quite interesting. Anytime one can keep exercise interesting, one is motivated to keep going. It also trains your balance, fights depression (like any other exercise!), can lower your risk of heart disease, improve your blood pressure and your bone density (this is a weight bearing exercise!), builds your leg and core muscles and it can even help control your weight.
Hiking is fun and good for your health, but comes with the following risks:
- Dehydration. There is a very serious risk and anyone should avoid hiking in the heat; bring plenty of water.
- Sun. Cover up to protect your skin.
- Animals. Anything from scorpions to snakes to mountain lions.
- Getting lost. On unfamiliar trails it is easy to misjudge time spent hiking. A handheld GPS can help find your way back.
- Pain. This usually happens due to two reasons. One of them is pretty harmless. You are out of shape and not ready for the task. Yet, repeated hikes will make it easier each time you hike. The other one is a misalignment in any joint in your body. It could be your lower back not being able to adapt to the stresses of hiking. Or your neck and upper back being unable to support your backpack. It could even be your knees and ankles. As a general rule, hiking doesn’t necessarily have to give you an injury – it can just bring the pain out of a previously injured joint. And for this reason, chiropractic is excellent to not just fix up joint problems, but also prevent a majority of injuries.