March 8, 2023
5 Essential And Practical Hiking Tips For People With Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It causes pain in the joints and stiffness that can make day-to-day life challenging. It is most common in the knees, hips and hands but can affect any joint on the body.
If you love hiking but find it challenging after a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, you’re not alone. For people with more severe symptoms, it can feel like getting back out into nature is impossible. It is important not to give up hope – there are things you can do that can help you continue enjoying all the physical activities you love.
Go For The Gentler Routes
You may find that the harder routes aren’t in the cards after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis – or at least not while you’re experiencing a flare-up. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on hiking entirely; there are hiking routes across the UK and beyond that are perfectly suited to those with mobility concerns or disabilities.
Take Your Time
A hike is not a race; as long as you have daylight and supplies to last, there is no rush to the finish point. Before any hike, it is a good idea to determine how long you’ll be on the trail and if there are any routes to take if you want to finish early. It is best to overestimate how long your hike will take, so you can be sure that you don’t risk hiking in the dark while unprepared.
Use Specialist Mobility Aids
If your mobility is particularly affected by your osteoarthritis, mobility aids can be invaluable during hikes. There are a wide range available, from hiking sticks to rollators and wheelchairs. An excellent, adaptable option is this rollator with air tyres that is suitable for uneven terrain – ideal for hikers. The air tyres ensure that you remain comfortable and supported even on the rougher terrain when hiking. Rollz’s excellent mobility aid also switches quickly and easily from a rollator to a wheelchair, ensuring you have the right level of support whenever you need it.
Try Some Yoga
Yoga can be an excellent companion exercise for hiking, helping you gently strengthen your joints and improve flexibility. You should look for a reputable yoga instructor who can offer tailored advice based on your osteoarthritis symptoms – crucial to avoid injury and improve strength in your osteoarthritis-affected joints.
The less weight you carry on your hike, the better – though you should always bring the essentials for safety and comfort. It may help if you can find a hiking companion who could shoulder some of the heavier items. Investing in an ultra-lightweight backpack will help you maintain your balance and put less stress on your joint as you hike.
Osteoarthritis doesn’t have to prevent you from hiking or any other activity you love. It just means you’ll need to do a little extra preparation before your hikes and modify your activities to match your mobility level. It is best to stick with the gentler hikes when your osteoarthritis is worse and always listen to the signals your body is giving you. Mobility aids can help give you confidence and much-needed support when hiking, allowing you to go further and live your life to the full.