A Physio’s tips for Bush Walking 

Lucky for us living in Australia, there are endless bush walks for us to revel in. Recently, while on a bush walk to spot Koalas, I found myself feeling rather fatigued halfway through with a neck ache at the end of it. I’m here today to share with you how you can look after yourself while bush walking, and some tips on spotting animals. 

Preparing for a bush walk 

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the day before your bush walk. If you want to read about sleep positions, click here.

Your bush walking gear should include the 3 essentials:  

  1. Trail shoes – They are designed to have a better grip on the uneven surface of the ground and protect your feet from rocks and debris. In addition, many trail shoes have water proofing material to keep your feet dry.  
  1. A water bottle – Whether you’re bush walking in the winter or the summer, you need to stay hydrated. Water helps hydrate the discs in your spine, and keep your muscles, tendons and ligaments in a healthier state. Dehydration can lead to your muscles feeling weak and tired and leave you in discomfort through your walk.  
  1. A fully charged phone – For making sure you can contact anyone should you need it, checking the map and of course capturing photos and videos of yourself and/or any animals you encounter.  

Preparing the body with a good warm up 

Warming up your muscles and joints before a bush walk will help set you up for a more enjoyable time. Here are 3 exercises and muscle releases to try: 

  1. Neck muscle releases: click here
    Spotting birds and koalas high up in the trees can put some strain on your neck muscles. Releasing these muscles before can keep them feeling optimal before you start on your walk. 
  1. Glute muscle release: click here
    The glutes are put to work when we are walking uphill. Get them feeling good before a walk and you’ll likely find those hills more manageable too. 
  1. Ankle circles
    Perform 10 circles in each direction on each ankle to warm up your ankle joints. 

During the walk 

Take breaks, enjoy the scenery, breathe in fresh air!  
When you’re looking up for birds and koalas for an extended time, your neck muscles are working very hard and may be tired and sore. To prevent this from happening, make sure you’re looking in various directions – looking up, down, sideways and mostly ahead where your head and neck are in neutral. When the neck muscles get tired, the body often compensates with other muscles kicking in, such as muscles at the shoulder. If you’re experiencing muscle soreness or tightness at your neck or shoulders, it’s a good sign that your muscles are fatigued, and you need to take a break. 

Also, koalas and birds aren’t always high up on trees, they may sometimes be on the ground! 

After the walk 

Take a few minutes to cool down with light stretches, muscle releases of your glutes and neck, and head off for a good meal to refuel!  

How we can help you get ready for bush walking 

The body needs to have a good amount of muscle strength, joint range, balance and cardiovascular endurance to participate in bush walking. If you’re wanting to improve on any of these, book in with us online or call 1300 842 850. One of our friendly team at Brisbane’s Best Physiotherapy clinic would love to see you and provide a tailored program for you and your body and get you on your way to living your best life. 

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