Aug 22

More Information About Hiking Boots

If you’ve ever been 5 miles from the trailhead with painful blisters, or even a sprained ankle, you will appreciate how much your hiking enjoyment rests literally on your feet. The selection of the correct hiking boots can be the difference between a great experience and a disaster. The choice of the right pair of boots can add considerably to your comfort and personal safety, especially in rugged or difficult terrain.

Before you start comparing the many brands and styles of hiking boot, consider the type of terrain and your style of hiking. Do you take extended treks through the mountains or just stroll through the local park or greenbelt?

Select a boot based on the most difficult terrain you will encounter. Do you carry a heavy pack? The heavier the pack the sturdier boot you will need. Are you an all-weather hiker? Do you need a lightweight breathable fabric or a heaver waterproof material?

Modern hiking boots do not weigh as much as older styles. Lightweight high-tech materials have replaced the metal shanks used in older boots and modern fabrics offer many advantages.

A lightweight boot can still offer plenty of support and be a lot easier on the feet over less rugged trails. Many of today’s top quality lightweight hiking boots offer a Gore-Tex┬« liner that helps keep water out while still allowing your feet to breathe.

All-leather boots provide more support than the leather and fabric styles and they are easier to waterproof. They lend themselves to rocky terrain but they are heaver and less flexible. In my experience, leather boots will outlast the lighter styles, partly due to the heavier construction but also due to the fact that they have less seams which are always the weak point in any boot.

Have your feet properly measured and wear the type and thickness of sock you will be wearing on the trail when trying on boots. Boots should fit snugly but not too tightly. Remember they will become more comfortable with wear.

Make sure they fit and provide support around your ankle and instep. You will need good ankle support, especially when carrying a pack. Hiking boots will never feel as comfortable as that old favorite pair of sneakers, but if you develop blisters or have pressure points, then you need a different boot.

Look for boots with foam padding around the ankle and tongue for comfort. Removable inserts will help to fine-tune for a perfect fit.

Once you’ve found the perfect pair of hiking boots, be sure to break them in slowly. Start with short walks around the neighborhood and progress to 3 or 4 hour hikes before that week long hiking vacation.

Aug 15

The Importance of Good Hiking Socks

Hiking SocksGreat hiking socks are critical. Do yours deliver in all these important areas? Learn how to pick the hiking sock that is smart for your trip.

Your hiking socks are probably like you at work, they do a lot more than they’re given credit for. They must be comfortable, wick moisture, protect against shear, support your natural posture, keep your feet at a good temperature, distribute pressure, promote circulation, absorb shock, and be tough. That’s no small order.

They are almost as important as your boots and shoes when it comes to your comfort. Here are some things to consider.

Blood flow This is the circulation of blood through the foot. A decrease or cut-off in blood flow can be caused by unyielding fabrics in hiking socks. Acrylics in combination with other fibers and a terry weave can help with this and shear.

Moisture With exertion one foot can sweat 1-2 pints of vapor/fluid per day. That’s why wicking technology in hiking socks is so important. Without it bacteria and fungus can become a problem.

Position If your hiking socks don’t help to maintain correct anatomical alignment this can cause premature fatigue. Correct posture also helps to correctly position your foot in your boot or shoe to make it feel like it’s an extension of your body.

Pressure areas Pressure can cause discomfort and lead to damage if it’s not addressed. A good example of this is a bedsore. Most people hopefully won’t experience pressure to this degree, but it’s something you want to keep in mind when looking at hiking socks. Padding is especially important around bony areas like the heel and ball of the foot.

Shearing force This happen when your tissue is moving in opposite directions, like when jumping over a stream, or descending a steep slope. Part of your skin is moving one way and the tissue under it another, this causes a tearing action just under the surface of the skin. This is the most common way of getting blisters.

Temperature Good hiking socks need to be appropriate for their intended use, from a warm weather day hike to a week-long mountaineering trip. Once in their appropriate environment they should maintain a consistent comfortable temperature.

Like a shoe or boot your hiking socks should be matched to the type of hiking you’ll be doing.

Liners Thin socks called liners are made to be worn under your hiking socks next to your skin so they can wick the moisture away and keep your feet dry…

Aug 08

Tips to an Enjoyable Hike

Enjoyable HikeSome people have fought many years of their lives to preserve the rich heritage of the outdoors and nature we now enjoy. That dedication and effort has been rewarded by fantastic hiking opportunities in our local, state, and national park systems.

In honor of their efforts, let’s break out of our winter hibernation and venture into the crisp, clean outdoor air and hit some of those dirt trails. Let’s Go Hiking!

Here are steps to having an enjoyable hike, no matter where your feet decide to take you.

Know the area you will be hiking in to. Although many states, like California, Colorado, or Wyoming have exceptional hiking hot spots, even your local park will have some kind of useful information. Whether it’s a website with information and trail details, or a map at the park office, trail head, or visitor center, always check before you head out on your hike so you know what to expect.

Know the conditions you will be facing, wherever you go. Nothing is worse than traveling to a hiking destination only to miss the hike, because it was raining or freezing and you weren’t prepared.

If the trail is flooded out, or snowy conditions have shut it down for an extended period, you should be able to find this out as well. It is also good to know if there are any plants or animals to watch out for at your hiking location. Wiping with poison ivy won’t feel good in the morning.

Wear clothing that works and fits the terrain and hike conditions. There are many options in your clothing arsenal, to keep yourself comfortable, here are a couple of pointers:

Try and stay away from cotton. Instead, look for synthetic and natural fibers that pull moisture away from your body, or at least stay warm when wet.

Also, go for layers to keep yourself warm, versus carrying around a huge parka, in case you are hit by a freak snowstorm.

The two most important pieces of clothing for any hiker, are good socks and good shoes. Don’t underestimate the pain a hike can cause with uncomfortable shoes and socks.

Finally, a hat in cold weather is a great addition, since your body loses over half its heat through your head.

In addition to knowing the weather conditions, you will need to be prepared with a first aid kit that’s appropriate for the hiking you will be doing. In most cases a simple kit will do. You can pick up a simple first aid kit at a local department or sporting goods store. Or you can build you own, which should include these basics:

Different sizes and shapes of bandages and gauzes

Various types of tape for wounds or fixing tools

Suntan lotion

A light emergency blanket (preferably with some kind of water resistance)

Aspirin, allergy, laxative, and anti-diuretic medications

Small multi-use tool with a knife, scissors, and a needle and thread

A cell phone can come in very handy in emergencies.

It’s a good idea to pack all of this in a waterproof bag or container. Using these tips, your next hiking adventure should be quite comfortable, safe, and enjoyable!

Aug 01

Muscle Building Tips for Underweight People (Workout Rules)

Stop listening to every ridiculous piece of advice you hear in the gym or read on a message board.

This is a mistake and it showed in his lack of further progress. In addition, don’t judge the validity of what a person says by how they look. Just because the guy is huge doesn’t mean he is spewing pertinent advice for you.

Many people that have big physiques are big despite of their training, not because of it. Some of those huge guys know very little about training and dieting correctly. They can do whatever and still gain muscle; unfortunately we are not that way, so we much approach things in a more intelligent way.

Workout infrequently

This is the most difficult concept for many to grasp simply because it involves less action, instead of more. When we get motivated and start a new program, it’s natural to want to do something. We want to train and train and train. Thinking all along that the more you train, the more muscle you will build. Unfortunately, this could not be farther from the truth.

More training does not equal more muscle growth. Understand that the purpose of weight training is to stimulate muscle growth. That takes very little time. Once that has been done, the muscle needs to be repaired and new muscle needs to be built.

That only happens when you are resting. You do not build muscle in the gym, you build muscle when resting! If you never give your body any essential “non active” time, when will it have a chance to build muscle? Think about that.

Now, add in the fact that you have a difficult time gaining weight and the importance of rest increases. Individuals who are naturally thin and have difficulty building muscle tend to require less training and more rest.

Focus on multi-jointed lifts

Multi-jointed exercises are those that stimulate the most amounts of muscle fibers. Unlike isolation exercises which only work individual muscles, multi-jointed lifts work many different muscle groups simultaneously.

For those needing to gain weight, this is ideal because these lifts put your body under the most amount of stress. This is the stress that will shock your nervous system and cause the greatest release of muscle building hormones. This results in increased muscle gain all over the body.

You can still do some isolation work; however it should not be the focus of your workouts, and should only come after your multi-jointed lifting is complete.

Focus on using free weights

Free weights are preferred over machines for many reasons, but most importantly because they allow the stimulation of certain supporting muscle groups when training. Stimulating these stabilizer and synergistic muscles will allow you go get stronger, and ultimately build more muscle faster.

Yes, some can most likely still build large amounts of muscle using machines, but why make it more difficult if you already have a difficult time gaining weight?

Lift a weight that is challenging for you

Building mass involves lifting relatively heavy weight. This is necessary because the muscle fibers that cause the most amount of muscle size growth (called Type IIB) are best stimulated by the lifting of heavy weight. A heavy weight as one that only allows you to perform 4-8 reps before your muscles fail.

Using a lighter weight and doing more reps can stimulate some Type IIB fibers, but again if you have a difficult time gaining weight, why make it more difficult? You need to try and stimulate as many as you can with the use of heavy weights.