Backpacking Fitness: Injury Recovery

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 09 July 2011

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Backpacker Injury Recovery

This page is set up for your comments and questions from the Trail Guide's physical fitness section about injury recovery and starting a fitness program.

Post comments through the link at the bottom of this page. If you are a registerd member, you can post your own Forum Topic in this the Mountain Conditioning Forum.

Stretching and Flexibility

The rigors of getting into backpacking condition and injury recovery both require rebuilding your basic physical capabilities after periods of inactivity. In the case of injury recovery, you have reached the point where you and your doctor believe you are ready for physical therapy. In the case of beginning a fittness program, you are ready to start stretching as a prelude to greater exertions.

In either case it is time to start moving your parts.

Establishing basic flexibility, strength, and endurance is the first step towards establishing your backpacking fitness program. Over the years I've developed a basic stretching program that acts as both a goal and a tool during injury recovery, and as a foundation for excersise during times of good health.

The Vital role of Stretching

Though the role of stretching may change depending on your fitness, it should always have a role in your life. Careful stretching becomes part of my healing process early in the process, and is a tool to access the status of injured parts. Stretching is the first step towards waking up your body after periods of inactivity. It is really wise to stretch and enhance circulation to your joints and connecting tissues before you start getting your muscles, heart, and lungs worked up.

The Long Term

Gradually stretching your way to flexibility is emblamatic of my gradual approach to backpacking fitness. We will gradually develop flexibility through a steady program. The flexibility will be followed up by steadily increasing aerobic work. The flexibility and aerobic work will be complimented by an upper body weight lifting program.

We will gradually build up each of these components and maintain them over long periods of time. We will draw down and gradually recover after periods of injury and inactivity, while gradually improving our performance during good times.

Great Rewards

We are not just working for work's sake: our level of fitness will be directly applied to the mountains during all four seasons. The joy of maintaining access to the High Sierra is great motivation, as well as a great reward for maintaining fitness.

I try to get between 11 and 14 hours of dedicated exercise time every week. In optimal conditions I am jogging and stretching for two hours every other day. During the days I'm not jogging, I'm spending two hours lifting and stretching.

During busy times I may be forced down to 7 hours a week.

Stretching and flexibility will always be a vital component of any recovery or fitness program.

One of the three stretching videos are embedded on this forum page, where you can leave comments and questions. This is the YouTube playlist for all three of the Stretching and Flexibility for Backpackers videos.

If you have extensive comments or experiences to share, register and post up your experiences as an article in this forum.


Trail Guide Backpacker Fitness Section:

Injury Recovery

Injury Recovery Introduction 

Beginning a Program

Building a Program

Who's Fitness Recovery Program?


Stretching and Flexibility Videos

Stretching One: Introduction, location, and walk

Stretching Two : Ankles, Knees, and Hips Up against the Wall

Stretching Three : Final Stretch-Final Thoughts


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