1.  Pace

Try to walk at the same speed. Let your body get into a rhythm and flow. Do not try to rush in, walk at your pace

2. Pack Adjustments

Regularly make small adjustments to your backpack’s hip belt, shoulder and stabilizer straps. Alternate the weight of the load between your shoulders and hips. By fine-tuning your load in such a fashion, you can help to minimize the build-up of tightness/stress in any one area.

3.  Mix It Up

The same principle of making adjustments to your pack equally applies to your gait. Shorter strides, longer strides, up on your toes, back on your heels. Whatever it takes to minimize muscle tension in particular areas. Think about it – if you are using the same muscles in exactly the same way hour after hour, day after day there are bound to be repercussions. If you are sitting at a computer for long stretches, do your eyes and hands not feel the strain?

4.  Stretching

To keep your muscles supple do some light stretching during breaks.

5.  Breaks

Try keeping them short and regular rather than long and occasional. This allows less time for the muscles to stiffen up, thus making it easier to get going again.

6.  Positivity

Focus on positive thoughts, rather than how exhausted you feel. Repeat a mantra or positive expression to yourself over and over. It really does help.

7.  Zigzagging

To decrease the gradient on very steep ascents, consider zigzagging rather than going straight up.

8.  Rest Step

If you are really feeling it on a long, steep ascent, consider using the Rest Step. With each stride forward, lock/straighten your back leg, momentarily shifting the weight on to the joints rather than the muscles

9. Center of Gravity

While hiking down don’t lean forward. Don’t lean back. Your centre of gravity should be low and over your legs

10. Minimize Stress

Keep your downhill leg slightly bent on impact. This will help minimize stress on the knees, as the muscles rather than the joints take the brunt of the strain

11.  Focus

Pay extra attention to foot placement.  Many slips occur on downhill stretches that immediately follow long ascents. After the exertion of the climb, the tendency is “let it all hang out” on the descent, which can subsequently lead to mistakes. Make a mental note to increase your concentration level before beginning downhill sections.

12.  Shorter Steps

When the gradient is steep, taking smaller steps will help to keep your centre of gravity over your legs, thus promoting greater balance and control.


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