Summer Adventures Are Right Around The Corner… But, Are You Ready?

One of the first big hikes I was ever on was with a group of co-workers. I was new to the area, and was invited on this hiking trip. I was told that it was a long hike, but it was easy with not a lot of incline involved.

This adventure began with about a 1 mile hike on pretty level ground until we got to a river. We were prepared for this so we put on our old tennis shoes, walked through the river, then left the wet shoes by a tree to pick up on our way back. After the river crossing though… things started to change from easy to much more difficult.

The 8 following miles into the hike consisted of a shorter, but steep, incline, a very LONG decline, and another fairly short incline until we reached our destination (a waterfall). It took us 7-8 miles to get to this waterfall. The hike was challenging, but my wife and I handled it fairly well.

If this was the end of the hike, things would have been good. However, we still had to hike back which was where the problem lied. We were both feeling fairly tired after we got to the waterfall, but that was only the halfway mark!!

Coming out proved to be much more difficult. We started with an easy decline, but remember that very LONG decline we took on our way to the waterfall? Well, turns out, we had to make our way UP it this time (Big surprise right?). I honestly don’t know how many miles it was to get to the top of the incline, but it was about 10x longer than I physically (and mentally) prepared for.

You see… this was only my SECOND real hike in the mountains. Just months prior to this hike I moved from a place that was about 400′ above sea level. Now I was hiking in the backwoods of Yellowstone. We weren’t at 400′ above sea level anymore friends.

I ended up getting pretty dehydrated and all the fun stuff that comes with it…. cramps, fatigue, lightheaded, you name it.

My wife and I learned from this experience though. From our first hiking experience, we learned the value of good hiking boots, bringing food/water, and good hiking backpacks. (Obviously, still didn’t bring enough water or food). Despite what you may expect from this adventure, we really did enjoy the hike, or at least part of it.

The big take away from this adventure, was that we needed some work getting in shape. In our previous lives, we were both athletes. We knew the value of practice was not only to learn plays or technique, but to get our bodies prepared for the game. Well now that we have retired from high school and collegiate sports, our new “game” is outdoor adventures.

We began “training” for our adventures. We took more frequent, shorter hikes, and eventually joined a gym. While on the ‘long but easy’ hike, one of the fellow hikers talked about how “This is nothing, you should try Table Rock. That’s a hard hike.” Well, after a few years of getting in better shape, learning new stuff, and training… We did Table Rock (The cover picture is us at the the top of Table Rock Mountain). It wasn’t easy, but we did it!!!

So if you’re someone thinking about starting some new adventures, or maybe you are a seasoned vet, but the pandemic or just this winter has gotten you a little out of shape. Or maybe, recently you developed some back pain, hip pain, or knee pain, and you are worried about whether or not you can keep up on the trail this summer. I wanted to provide some pointers…

1. Cardio

It doesn’t have to be joining a gym or anything crazy. Just start by taking walks or going for a jog routinely. Maybe dust off your old bike and start riding around town a few days a week.

2. Stretching

Limber up those stiff muscles by starting a stretching program. I like doing this after going for a run at the gym.

3. Strength training

If you are looking for increasing your endurance while out of the trail or paddling your kayak for hours at a time, your going to need some strength. Lifting lighter weights with higher repetitions will generally help to build up some endurance in your muscles so you don’t fatigue too easily when on your adventure.

4. Don’t forget your core

After running and stretching, I always add a short 10 or so minute core routine. If you have a weak core, you will be more susceptible to back injuries. Developing back pain isn’t hard to do when you spend hours walking over uneven surfaces with a heavy backpack on. To help prevent an injury, make sure to take some time before going out on the trail doing some core strengthening.

However, don’t feel like you have to have a 6-pack before going on an adventure. (I don’t and likely never will)

5. Physical Therapy

There isn’t a faster way to get your body ready for your next adventure than working one on one with a physical therapist. Whether you need some help addressing pain, an injury, or just generally need some advice for getting in shape, physical therapy can help!

To find out how physical therapy can help…

Contact us Today!


Disclaimer: This content is for general, informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice.


Dr. Tyler Burke

DPT, Owner and Founder of Switchback Direct PT

We help injured outdoor enthusiasts to stop hurting and start adventuring.

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