Ankle strength for hiking

Why strong ankles are important

On a recent vacation to campout and hike in Palo Duro Canyon In the Panhandle of Texas I became aware of the importance of having strong functional ankles. We don’t think much about having strong ankles and how they actually support us and help keep us from falling. I found that my ankles are very integral in my being able to stay vertical while hiking up and down the Canyon. We don’t think much about our ankles in our daily lives walking around on Pavement and concrete and the hard floors of our home. I wondered what can we do to help exercise our muscles in our ankles and lower legs. As a massage therapist, all muscles are important and as we get older muscle tone and functionality is especially important in keeping us active and healthy.

Where do we usually walk

I walk most days for about 3 miles. Living in Dallas, that is usually on sidewalks or streets. While I get some cardio benefit and some weight bearing exercise while walking, my ankles are not putting out a lot of effort to do the walk. Unlike hiking up and down the mountain in rocky terrain, my ankles have a smooth go of it in general.

How can I strengthen my ankles

All this got me to thinking about how to take care of my ankles better. As you can see in this picture, I show three different types of terrain . There is grass, there’s pavement and there are stones in the landscaping. When I walk on the pavement I’m not getting much effort out of my ankles. When I walk on the grass I get a little more engagement in the muscles of the ankle and calf. And when I walk on the stones I really get a workout for my ankles and lower legs. The stones are a good way to mimic the rough terrain of Palo Duro Canyon and engage my ankles and calves in the effort .

My encouragement to my massage clients and anyone else who is walking and working to develop strength and stability is to walk on grass as much as possible and, when the opportunity presents itself, walk on some rough terrain such as these landscaping stones. Go slowly and carefully and engaging those muscles will pay off greatly in the future .

Other recommendations

I will also point out that in this heat we are currently experiencing it is very important to stay hydrated . Oftentimes water is not enough to keep us hydrated. Perspiration and breath expiration cause us to lose a lot of fluids as well as electrolytes from our bodies. Whether I’m hiking in Palo Duro Canyon, working in the backyard or taking my daily walk I always use a hydration drink .

My drink of choice is Shaklee Performance . There is a low calorie option as well as the regular.

 

So keep up your walking and exercise regime, do it smartly and stay hydrated.

Also, here are some more tips for having a healthy hike, especially if you experience muscle spasms or cramps.

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