Keep Your Back Happy And Healthy While Camping
Summer camping is an enjoyable activity that many Canadians participate in and look forward to each year. This year is particularly exciting with Parks Canada offering free admission to its numerous parks all year. This gives Canadians the opportunity to visit areas they hadn’t visited before and discover the incredible parks this great country has to offer. Whether you’re heading out in a camper-trailer, pitching a tent or heading to a cottage, here are five tips to keep you a happy and healthy camper while enjoying the great outdoors.
Depending on the area you are camping, you may have access to fresh, clean water or you may be required to bring your own. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun, which can easily dehydrate you. Muscles tend to become stiffer when you are dehydrated which can contribute to lower back tension. So stay hydrated! (Beer doesn’t count!)
2. Lift And Bend Properly
With unloading the car and setting up your campsite, you are bound to do a fair amount of bending and lifting. Using improper technique is a sure fire way to injure yourself. If you are setting up a tent, push the pegs into the ground with your feet if the ground is soft enough. If you do need to hammer the pegs in, get on your hands and knees to do so instead of bending awkwardly. Use proper lifting techniques – keep your back straight and bend at the knees. Always keep the object you are moving closer to your body and avoid twisting as you carry the object. Ask for help if something is heavy or awkwardly shaped.
3. Sleeping Surface
If you are sleeping in a camper, you may have already picked out a good mattress that suits your needs. However, if you are camping in a tent, sleeping on the ground may leave you feeling a little stiff and sore in the morning. While not as comfortable as a mattress, an air mattress or sleeping pad will give you extra cushioning from the ground and be more supportive than sleeping directly on the ground itself. If at all possible, bring your pillow from home and provide your neck with good support.
4. Use Proper Equipment
Take proper footwear if you plan on hiking or walking for long distances. Wearing good sneakers with support will lessen the strain on your lower back. If you are taking a backpack with you, pack it light and wear it right. Wearing both straps on your shoulders will help distribute the weight on the back. Also, fasten the strap that goes across your chest. This will keep the bag close to your body. Pack the heaviest items closest to the back of the backpack to keep the weight closest to your body.
Kayaking and other water sports can be particularly harsh on the upper body and back. Make sure the equipment you are using properly suits your size and use a towel for lumbar support, if possible. A proper warm up before leaving the dock is very important, as is a good stretch upon your return.
5. Visit Your Health Care Providers
Keep on schedule with your chiropractic and massage therapy appointments. Make sure you are in good shape before going on vacation and get a tune up when you return. Sleeping on different beds or surfaces, traveling long distances, as well as participating in different activities that your body is not used to may lead to a little stiffness and soreness. Your chiropractor and massage therapist can help!
We hope that you take a little time to relax and take in nature this summer. These tips will help you along the way to enjoy your vacation to the fullest!