Experience all that fall has to offer, while protecting your back from pain and strains
Summer may be winding down, but autumn has just as many fun-filled, seasonal outdoor activities. Whether hiking through the changing, colored leaves, apple and pumpkin picking, or football tailgating, it’s always important to play it safe while participating in your favorite fall pastimes.
Here are some useful tips to help you prevent back pain and injuries this fall season.
Go take a hike (in the right boots)
- Choose hiking boots, or walking shoes, that will survive the long haul. Shop for support, over style, when deciding on a pair. Your back and legs will thank you later after going the distance. Make sure new footwear is well broken in before heading out to avoid painful calluses and blisters.
- For beginner hikers, gradually build up body endurance by starting with longer walks around your neighborhood. This will help to develop strength in the feet, ankles and calves before taking to the trails.
Consider your back when filling your backpack
- Limit the amount of weight you’ll be carrying on your trek. Choose wisely and bring only the essentials in backpacks and jacket pockets (no more than 10% of your total body weight).
- Include “fuel foods” like trail mix, bananas, dried fruit and hydration drinks to energize your body along the way.
- Backpacks should be properly fitted with padded straps that distribute weight evenly to avoid unwanted pressure on the spine.
Stretch it out before you head out
- Performing stretching exercises before and after your hike will reduce stress on joints, loosen muscles and get blood circulation moving.
- Always let someone know where you’ll be hiking, and stick to well-defined trails for safety. Take frequent breaks to avoid back strain, and muscle/tendon injuries.
- Hiking with trekking poles can benefit those who suffer with back pain by keeping the body upright, providing better support and improving bad posture.
Hey, sports fans! For the tailgaters and season ticket holders:
- Avoid stadium bleacher back pain by sitting up straight, shoulders back with both feet flat on the ground.
- Use game time outs as your time to get out of your seat and be active. Stand up in the stands and do some stretching exercises. This will relieve muscle and joint tightness, decreasing back pain.
- At outdoor games, dress in layers so you can remove, or add, clothing as needed to adjust for comfort during changing weather conditions. This will help keep your body temperature from becoming overheated, or too chilled.
- Finally, if your team does score that overtime touchdown, try not to jump up with any sudden, excited movements after sitting for a prolonged period. This can lead to pulled muscles, or other back and neck trouble.
And, for apple pickers and pumpkin hunters
- Wear waterproof footwear to the orchard, or patch, for protection from wet grounds. Shoes and boots with added support will also help while walking on uneven terrain.
- Get heavy Halloween treats home safely without injury to them, or yourself. With your feet shoulder width apart and back straight, squat down behind the object. Placing your hands on either side of it, keep the object as close to you as possible. Using your abdominal muscles for assistance, begin to straighten your knees to stand while picking it up. Remember — always lift with the legs, and not with your back.
Follow these outdoor autumn activity safety tips, and you’ll enjoy this fall season to the fullest!
The entire Pure HealthyBack team of physical therapy experts wish you an active and fun-filled autumn. If you find yourself in need of our Wellness Program, give us a call at 888-396-2642 to get started.
*The Wellness Program is not covered by insurances. Call 888-396-2642 or ask your Physical Therapist for pricing and details.