Lower back fatigue is a common occurrence while hiking. If the lower back fatigue is accompanied by back pain while walking or standing, then the cause might be down to muscle fatigue. Another possible cause of lower back fatigue to hikers is an imbalance in the spinal column. When your spine is slightly out of alignment, it leaves some parts of the body unsupported, leading to fatigue as mentioned earlier, or muscle tightness.
What Should I Do When I Experience Lower Back Fatigue?
Lower back fatigue attributed to muscle fatigue leads to aches and pains in most cases. It is remedied by resting the back through either sitting or lying down. The fatigue can also be treated by applying either cold or hot therapy, rest, using over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, and doing light exercises aimed at stretching and loosening the muscles.
Taking care of your body weight can also minimize the stress that brings fatigue to the lower back.
Minimizing Cases Of Lower Back Fatigue While Hiking
Lower back fatigues are characterized by back pain. If you are an outdoor enthusiast who prides in putting your body through grueling hikes, the following precautions will help you minimize instances of low back fatigue;
1. Avoid The Triggers
None understands your body the way you do. You should try hard to avoid things that trigger fatigue, for instance, if you experience fatigue when you arch your back or when you bend forward to touch the toes, you are advised to avoid such exercises, or else they will put you in unnecessary pain.
Avoiding fatigue triggers helps to enhance your confidence, hence a much resilient back is restructured. Health experts advise that our muscles and joints have sensors that identify pain. The brain then interprets the pain as either good or bad pain. So if you minimize fatigue triggers, the nervous system will only be receiving a good pain signal.
2. Develop Your Core Strength
One of the solutions to lower back fatigue associated with hiking and other outdoor activities is to master a way of movement that will strengthen your body and stabilize it to minimize instances of cornering yourself to the situation that aggravates fatigue, leading to back pains. By a simple act of checking your movement, you will build a strong core that is adequately stable.
You should beware that your core encompasses half of your body’s muscles. So, when you engage in an activity such as hiking, your core muscles are programmed to work together. To enhance your core strength, do light stretching exercises before and after the hike.
3. Enhance Your Posture
If your day-to-day posture is superb, you are likely to carry the same pose to the hiking trails, and a stable stance is less prone to fatigue of the low back. A hiker in a strong anatomical posture has a high chance of staying fatigue-free.
You can improve your posture by; avoiding a cross-legged sitting position, placing your feet flat on the ground while sitting in front of your computer, standing straight, and taking a straight sitting posture when driving.
4. Carry An Appropriate Backpack
The type of backpack you carry while hiking means a lot to your spine. Spend time sampling backpacks and settle for the correct one that will not burden the spine.
The best backpack to use when hiking should have two straps. Use one strap around your chest, and the other one should be strapped around the hips. This simple action will reduce compression forces that weigh down on your spine while hiking.
Acquiring the right side of the backpack that conforms with your body size is also essential. Your preferred backpack’s size should be proportional to your torso length, hips-width, and bodyweight.
5. Use Hiking poles
Scientific research has proved that using appropriate poles to scale hiking trails reduces the pressure on your joints and the back.
The poles selected for hiking purposes should work well with your body. When walking, your arms should bend at a 90 degrees angle to hold the pole. Adjustable hiking poles will serve you better since hike trails have inclines and declines.
6. Wear The Right Hiking Gear
Your hiking boots play a significant role in combatting muscle fatigue while hiking. Your gait and walking posture can be affected by inappropriate boots. Using the right hiking shoes will remedy this situation.
Appropriate hiking pants also determine how blood circulates to your legs. Better blood circulation helps in strengthening your core muscles.
7. Maintain Proper Nutrition
Your body requires fueling after and before hiking. Properly fed muscles maintain a tip-top shape; thus, they are not prone to fatigue. Remember to carry a few energy bars with high carbohydrates to nourish your muscles while on the go.
Benefits Of Hiking To Lower Back Muscles
1. Muscle Strengthening
When humans walk, their back muscles’ health improves tremendously. Here is how the enhancement occurs;
a. Enhanced Blood Flow
If you don’t engage in physical activities, your spine’s small blood vessels get confined, leading to limited blood flow; hence muscles and the spine don’t receive sufficient blood. Getting out into the hiking trails assists in opening the vessels, resulting in an increased supply of nutrients and oxygen to the previously undersupplied muscles.
b. Flushing Out Toxins
When muscles contract and expand, they produce physiologic toxins that accumulate within your lower back muscle tissues, and they will cause stiffness. By hiking, you help in flushing out the toxins above, hence enhancing flexibility.
Both enhanced blood flow and the flushing out of toxins from your lower back combine well to help in strengthening the lower back muscles.
2. Increased Flexibility
If you deny your body some exercise, your hips, lower back muscles, and joints will stiffen and exert extra pressure on the lumbar spine (lower back).
Walking helps in stretching your core muscles, hence the enhancement of spinal ligaments and tendons’ flexibility. Flexible tendons and Spinal ligaments perfect the overall motion of the lower back.
Lower back fatigue while hiking is not a pleasant experience for any hiker. When you encounter such an experience, don’t hesitate to sit down to remedy the situation. Follow the guide given in this article to minimize future recurrence. However, if the condition worsens, seek medical attention.