Italian Dolomites Trek | by Ken Fuhrer
The knee is one of the most mobile joints, but as mobility increases, stability decreases. When thinking about how to approach knee health, the term made popular in the 1920’s comes to mind: the bees knees. The term simply implies excellent or the highest quality and often holds no place in the world of trekking where knee issues are often less than excellent.
This brings me to a post I like to call the Bees Knees: Keeping trekkers’ biggest asset of highest quality.
Below are some tips, exercises and advice for keeping knees most excellent to hike for years to come.
1. HIKING POLES: There is a reason why Ryder Walker puts these valuable metal support devices at the top of the packing list. They themselves are the bees knees. Without poles, the average trekker will likely put anywhere from 3-10 times his/her bodyweight in pressure on the knee. Hiking poles allow the upper body to take pressure off the knee joint. Think of them as another set of legs.
2. STRENGTH TRAINING: Many trekkers that choose a Ryder Walker Alpine Adventure spend long periods of time working hard at their day jobs and thus leave little time to train for a trek. This is usually the root cause of injury. It is imperative to keep the muscles surrounding the knee joint strong in order to stabilize the knee during long duration trekking, especially downhill. These muscles include the quadriceps, hamstrings, inner thighs, and calves. Click here for great strength exercises.
3. STRETCHING: Flexibility is another key player in the quest for the bees knees. Whether it is practicing yoga twice a week, or trying any of these stretches after exercising, staying flexible will surely make for happy knees on the trail.
4. DOWNHILL MOVES: What goes up must come down, and while Ryder Walker is keen on offering the treks with the best views, a descent likely awaits. There are ways to alleviate stress on the knees while descending, and it starts with shoes. If the shoe fits it will leave the feet blister and toe bang free, ensuring comfort and stability. Gel inserts can also help absorb pressure from the downhill trail and making sure hiking shoes are properly laced can add even more support and stability.
5. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS: Avoiding foods that cause inflammation can help alleviate joint pain. Avoiding a high intake of dairy, grains, meat, and processed foods will allow proper movement of joints. In places of these foods, take in more leafy greens and vegetables, grass finished meats, and eat foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, like Salmon. Landlocked? Supplement with a high quality fish oil. Reducing your intake of inflammatory foods can help lubricate joints to allow fluid movement.
A more in-depth exploration of these five tidbits will surely make the next trek with Ryder Walker Alpine Adventures the bees knees!
Nicole Nugent is a travel consultant for Ryder Walker Alpine Adventures. She has a degree in Integrative Physiology from University of Colorado, Boulder and also works as wellness chef and NASM certified personal trainer. You can follow her health and nutrition blog at huntgathernourish.blogspot.com