With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s timely we look at holiday plans that may see you pushed beyond your normal activity levels. Let’s see if we can minimise any injury risk for you.
Whether you are off to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, or the Overland Track in Tassie, or maybe it’s skiing in the Dolomites, some simple pre-trip preparation is well worthwhile.
The buzzword in injury and fitness management is ‘loading’. Loading occurs in bone, joint, muscle and tendon, and is activity or exercise dependant. Excess loading on a regular basis will usually lead to an increased injury risk. This is especially the case if you have elevated injury risk factors before the unusual loading is applied such as:
- Faulty or poor biomechanics (eg. flat feet, tight calves)
- Metabolic risk factors for tendon disease. (eg. elevated blood sugar and/or cholesterol)
- Deconditioning from recent injury or illness, or just lack of physical activity
The key is to increase your activity in a graduated fashion over the preceding months before your trip. Go on day hikes, gradually extending your distance, and even the weight carried if you’re planning a hiking holiday. Get to the indoor climbing wall if you’re planning a rock climbing trip, or run/cycle/hike if it’s a ski trip on your agenda.
Start easy and build up, following the 10% increase per week guideline. Get any injury niggles sorted with your physio before they wreak havoc on your travel plans.
Photographs of Stuart Imer, FAARA director from his rock climbing adventure in Thailand in October 2016.