HEALTH CENTER

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Let’s Hike by Nicole Kimball

Nicole_ (425x640)We are all lucky to live in sunny Southern California. One of the great things about this location is the ability to hike all year long. Even in the slightly warmer months, and the slightly colder months, it is still possible to enjoy hiking. In order to stay healthy and safe while climbing those mountains it is important to keep a few things in mind.

Hydrate

Regardless of the weather it is always important to be prepared with enough water. It is easy to think on an overcast or chilly day that you don’t need water, but you would be mistaken. To take the best care of yourself, you should begin hydrating as soon as you wake up. If you wait until you are already hiking, and already thirsty, it’s too late. About a liter of water first thing in the morning is a good start. From there everyone is different when it comes to how much water they need. Remember, it is always better to bring too much and not too little.

Protect Your Skin

Sunblock should always be a part of your pre-hiking ritual. Make sure it is at least 30 SPF and apply it everywhere. This includes under your clothing. The sun has rays that can penetrate fabric and burn you through your hiking clothes. An extra tube of sunscreen should hitch a ride in your backpack as well. Ideally it should be re-applied every 3-4 hours to ensure you are properly protected. For some added protection, a wide brimmed hat can protect both your scalp and your face from harmful sun rays.

Dress Appropriately

The best materials for hiking are ones that are very breathable and/or moisture-wicking. Cotton should be avoided at all costs. In the cooler months thin materials should still be worn, just in layers. Just because it is cold outside, it does not mean you should wear one very warm, very thick, layer. Socks should be a thin material that is also moisture-wicking. One of the most important things you wear while hiking are the shoes. Making sure you have the right shoes is key to enjoying the hiking experience. Hiking shoes should be bought one size too big. This allows your feet room to swell during the hike, something that will happen if you are hiking for a long time.

Bring Fuel

The length of your hike will determine how many snacks to bring. It’s always a good idea to have some high protein foods along with quick energy sources. Nuts, bananas, granola bars, and protein bars are good snack options. Sports drinks with electrolytes can also help fuel you on your hike, as well as, prevent cramping and dehydration. Be careful not to drink too many drinks as high levels of sugar and sugar substances can draw water out of your body.

Following these tips will help ensure everyone gets to enjoy the beautiful mountains in Southern California while staying happy and healthy.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.