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The Importance of Physicals Before Backpacking
Backpacking is no longer for the young. People of all ages are picking up their supplies and going on the road all over the world to enjoy this activity. However, before you plan your backpacking trip, get a medical check-up from your family doctor to ensure that you are physically capable of handling this strenuous activity.
Get the Shot, Not the Disease
One aspect of a backpacking trip overseas that many people do not pay much attention to is the vaccinations you need updated. No one likes to get shots, but this is imperative if you are traveling outside your home country. No matter what country, or countries, you have planned to backpack through, there are some vaccinations you will need, including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Tetanus+ are the most common vaccinations you will need. Each of these three vaccinations last up to ten years.
If you are traveling to South America or Southeast Asia, it is recommended that you get a vaccination for Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever and Japanese Encephalitis. The Yellow Fever vaccination is required if your backpacking trip includes South America and different parts of Africa. Make sure you carry proof that you received this vaccination.
Overseas Travel Requires Preparation
No matter where you plan to travel overseas, it is good to get some travel insurance. Most developing countries, and some developed countries, do not have easy access to health care. Many do not even have health insurance. Contact your health-care provider and see if your insurance covers you overseas. If it does not, there are many agencies that sale travel insurance that will cover you whatever country you are planning to backpack through. Make sure you check into all of this about six months before you take your trip. Overseas travel requires preparation.
Save the Pain, Get in Shape
Even if you are in shape, make sure you start working out months before your backpacking trip. If you are not in shape, get a medical check-up and have the doctor recommend an exercise schedule that will prepare you for your trip. The doctor can review your body type and give you advice on how better to prepare, physically, for the trek you have planned.
Backpacking is more physical than most people believe. Since you will be carrying weight on your back and trekking long miles, up and down hills or mountains, it is important to work out the muscles that will be used during this strenuous activity. This could include weight training, but spend a lot of time working on your cardiovascular system, leg strength and back strength.
Walk, Walk and Walk More
Everyone is aware that backpacking involves a lot of walking. This is why walking must be a part of your preparation. According to Dr.Martin Z. Kanner, a leading expert in physical therapy. The most common injuries incurred during hiking is sprained ankles and feet, pulled calf muscles, hip bursitis, hamstring pulls, Achilles tendon tears and fractured feet and toes. However, Dr. Martin says that properly instituting walking into your backpacking preparation will eliminate most of these common injuries.
By slowly building up your walking distance you can eliminate many of the minor injuries that occur when backpacking without proper physical training. These minor injuries include blisters, muscle soreness and fatigue. As long as you limit your backpacking activities to the distances you have already prepared for, you will be able to enjoy your trek through the mountains, woods or jungles without worrying about how you will feel the next morning.
Backpacking trips are exciting, but also physically demanding. Plan the trip, get the required vaccinations and always get a medical check-up before leaving for your adventure.