Vacation season is almost here and too often people get so focused on getting their bodies aesthetically fit for swimsuit season, they forget that being physically fit, in the sense of being in good walking shape, is important too. Dr. Hilary Taglio is joining us today to talk about what you can do to prepare for the rigors of vacation.
While prepping for your vacation, try to think about all you will be doing on your trip. Will you be climbing flights of stairs, walking steep hills, hiking rocky trails, etc.? Whether you will be spending time walking for hours at Disneyland, covering miles of city blocks, walking the deck of a cruise ship with daily shore excursions, or hiking backcountry trails, it is extremely important to prepare yourself for whatever you will be doing, so you can do it with ease and have it be an enjoyable experience for you and everyone else you are with. Not only will you feel better, you will not be winded or tired and will be able to keep up with your kids or the people you are traveling with. Ideally, you want to come back from a place you visit feeling like you experienced it to the fullest, not like you were too tired and out of shape to keep up with the pace.
Here are a few things to keep in your vacation preparation plan:
- Prep For Your Trip With The Right Exercises. It is important to prepare and build your leg muscles ahead of time. If you will be walking a lot, start going on daily walks, increasing your distance and your pace each day and each week. Vary your terrain and incorporate hills. Ideally, you should be walking 2-3 miles minimum, several times per week if not daily. If you will be climbing a lot of stairs, find some stairs to climb or get on the stair climber at the gym. Start slow and build up to more distance each week, using proper form, so you do not get hurt. If you will be carrying backpacks or other gear, consider using these with some weight in them during your training walks leading up to your trip, so you get used to your pack and get good at carrying weight easily.
- Drop a few pounds. Excess weight adds to the wear and tear on your body, increasing the likelihood of injury. If you have some weight to lose, try dropping a few pounds before your trip so you are not miserably pounding the pavement with too many extra pounds on your body. Every extra pound adds more strain to your joints, ligaments and muscles, making you feel achy and stiff by the end of the day as well as possibly causing pain.
- The lower back is especially susceptible to weight related pressure. Extra weight, especially around the midsection, pulls your pelvis forward, tilting the spine over time and causing an unnatural curvature.
- Being overweight puts mechanical stress on joints, however, excess body fat also produces chemicals that contribute to damage to joints and spinal discs. Being overweight increases your chances of sustaining a musculoskeletal injury by 15% and being obese, increases your risk by 48%. Being in an unhealthy weight range overtime increases the risk for degenerative disc disease by 30-79%.
- Eliminating just a few pounds will make a huge difference to your back. For every four pounds lost, you remove 16 pounds of pressure from your spine. One study showed the risk of developing osteoarthritis decreased by 50% with each 11lb weight loss.
- Get your feet aligned, your arches evaluated and some new walking shoes. Proper foot alignment, a good shoe and the right orthotics can make all the difference for foot pain, comfort and alignment/pain issues from your feet all the way throughout your spine. Orthotic support can help when there is excessive pronation or arch collapse of the foot, helping to diminish the torque that causes internal rotation stress to the leg, hip, pelvis and lower back. If hyperpronation of the foot due to fallen arches remains unsupported, eventual ligament instability can occur, affecting the sacroiliac and lumbar joints. Orthotics have been shown to diminish these structural strains and reduce symptoms. Look down at your feet with your shoes off. Check to see if your ankles roll in, if your arch is flat on one or both sides, if one foot flares out or in (indicator of a hip misalignment) or if your shoes wear unevenly. These are all signs that your biomechanics are off and could lead to problems down the road. Consider addressing these things before a big trip, so your feet are dialed in.
Most of these things you can easily figure out how to do on your own, however, if you do have a biomechanical issue stemming from old injuries, misalignments or fixations, our office can help. We offer preventive wellness evaluations, to help identify and address health issues before they become bigger problems. We will evaluate your feet and check for hyperpronation, fallen arches or foot alignment issues. If you are concerned that your weight may be putting your back at risk, nutrition and exercise guidance is available as well to help protect your back, be the healthiest version of you that you can be and maintain an active quality of life.
As a wife and mother of two active little boys, Dr. Taglio understands that life is busy and can easily get out of balance. She knows how important healthy habits are in maintaining a healthy family. She is committed to addressing the whole body and takes a multi-pronged approach to improving the function of the nervous system, by removing nerve interference through chiropractic, addressing nutritional components and incorporating neuromuscular re-education to maintain spinal health and stability. She has made it her mission to help people not only feel great, but also help them reach their highest potential, in whatever their endeavors are. She has a love for children and their healing through chiropractic and nutrition.
The opinions expressed here represent those of the author. California Family Fitness will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Always consult your physician before beginning any nutrition or exercise program.