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Life in Motion

Tips for Safe Fall Hiking

Health & Prevention

The temperatures are dropping and it’s the perfect time to head out, hit the trails and enjoy the fall foliage. Physical therapists at NEBH recommend the following tips to keep you safe on your next hiking trip.

  • Ensure you have the proper footwear. If you are in the market for a new pair of boots, consider the following:
    • Aim to try on boots in the afternoon, as your feet are naturally more swollen later in the day. If the shoe you try on is comfortable during that time period, it should be comfortable at all times.
    • Make sure there’s room in the toe box for your toes to wiggle. Consider the conditions you plan to hike in. Feet will swell at elevation, so if you plan to head to the mountains you may benefit from a half to full size bigger
    • Select a boot which has at least a 1.5 inch heel height difference between the front sole and the bottom of the heel.
    • Break your shoes in with a shorter walk or hike before trying longer routes so you can address any potential sore spots or friction to prevent blistering.
  • Dress for the weather and be prepared for changes in temperature. Temperatures can change drastically throughout the day and elevation, so pack an extra layer in case temperatures begin to drop or you are caught in rain. Layers of moisture-wicking, loose, and water/wind resistant clothing are ideal.
  • Stay hydrated. When temperatures are cooler, you may not feel as thirsty, but always pack plenty of water and sip throughout the trip. Also pack a snack and/or electrolytes in case the hike is longer or more strenuous than you anticipated.
  • Take bug spray and sunblock. You can still get sunburn in cooler or cloudy weather.
  • If you were in vacation mode this summer and this is your first time exercising in a while, ease into hiking and incorporate stretching before and after hikes to avoid getting injured by pushing yourself too hard too quickly.
  • Always let someone know where you plan on hiking in case of an emergency (often cell services in remote locations will not be available).

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