It's nearly time for the Oxfam trail walk this year; a 100km trail that tests both physical and mental endurance and strength to raise funds for the underprivileged.
(prHWY.com) March 25, 2013 - Newmarket, Australia -- It's nearly time for the Oxfam trail walk this year; a 100km trail that tests both physical and mental endurance and strength to raise funds for the underprivileged. If you are a registered walker for the 2013 trail-walk, you ought to be proud of the commitment you have made, both to your health and to improving the quality of life of a person that you have never met.
A few years ago I happened to be a volunteer physiotherapy student at the 80km rest station. There are usually mixed emotions at this stop; many are exhausted, some are elated and a selected few are emotionally broken. 2 days of constant exercise in a chilly Brisbane winter wind will do that to you. The most common injuries were overuse injuries of the lower limb, predominantly tight iliotibial bands (ITBs), knee pain (most commonly patellar tendinopathies and patellofemoral pain) as well as ankle injuries (a few minor sprains or poorly healed previous injuries). The other very common concern was blisters of the feet which the volunteer podiatrists were equipped to handle.
As a physiotherapist my advice to you is simple.
* If you have an injury, fix it before or while you train. There are few things more gruelling than the physical and emotional fatigue you experience from an 80 km walk that you have never attempted in your life; let alone one you have decided to attempt with a knee injury.
* If you have a history of injury, maintain a regular exercise and stretch routine as instructed by your physiotherapist while you train.
* Did I mention- you should TRAIN for the walk? Oxfam hold training walks as well as provides comprehensive guides on training. Everybody trains differently; find your most comfortable method but ensure that prior to attempting the walk, that you have tried the following:
o Walking up and down hills
o Walking in the dark ( with a night lamp)
o Walking with your team (Usually it is a case of the more, the merrier. While walking with a group elevates your spirits, having people walk with you can change the pace greatly which can affect your fatigue levels.)
o It may help to walk in the rain to get used to the possibility of changing weather conditions.
o Walk with a backpack on. A bag approximately 6-7 kg in weight is usually what is expected. It is advisable that you travel light but ensure that you take enough water, foot, light and weather protection with you.
o If you have a history of lower limb overuse conditions take a pair of walking poles with you to reduce lower limb fatigue.
As you train for the walk, it is expected that you will spend the majority of your training time actually walking. However, trying other forms of cardiovascular training is also recommended such as jogging, cycling or swimming. In addition to cardiovascular training, we physios highly recommend regular stretching. Adequate muscle length is important to maintain range of motion in your joints. While there is limited to research that solidly states that stretching reduces pain, stretching is widely used in clinic to relieve muscle tension and improve joint range of motion, thereby reducing stress on the joints. As a walker, we recommend that you stretch your hamstrings, quads, calf muscles and gluteal muscles after a walk or during the event. Each stretch should be slow and sustained for a minimum of 15 seconds to achieve maximal muscle lengthening. While there is no guarantee that you will remain injury free through a 100 km walk, there is a great possibility that with a well rounded training regimen the likelihood of getting injured is dramatically reduced.
While the walk tests your physical ability and determination, it leaves you with a wonderful sense of achievement. All the best to the 2013 trail walkers! I look forward to seeing you at the rest stations.
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