Beating the Heat: 10 Essential Summer Hiking Safety Tips

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image of people hiking through a field at sunset

Hiking is a rewarding way to connect with nature and stay fit. Summer, with its long days and plentiful sunshine, seems like the ideal time to hit the trails. However, summer hiking comes with unique challenges, not least of which is the sweltering heat. To help ensure your safety while exploring the great outdoors this summer, we’ve compiled a list of ten essential tips.

1. Start Early or Late

The sun is most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so to minimize exposure, plan to hike in the early morning or late afternoon. Besides, the soft glow of dawn or dusk can make your outdoor adventure feel even more magical.

2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Hydration is always crucial while hiking, but it’s even more so in the summer heat. Drink plenty of water before you hit the trail, and bring more water than you think you’ll need. For longer hikes, consider bringing a water purifier to refill from natural sources.

3. Dress Smart

Choose lightweight, breathable, and light-coloured clothing to reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them. Also, opt for moisture-wicking fabrics to help keep you cool. Don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat for extra shade and sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

4. Slather on Sunscreen

Even on cloudy days, harmful UV rays can damage your skin. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed skin, and reapply every two hours or after heavy sweating.

5. Take Regular Breaks

Heat can increase fatigue, so take regular breaks in shaded areas. Listen to your body and rest when needed. During your breaks, drink water and munch on salty snacks to replace lost electrolytes.

6. Know the Signs of Heat Illness

Learn the signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion, which include confusion, dizziness, headache, rapid heartbeat, and more. If you or a hiking partner exhibits any of these symptoms, seek shade, rest, hydrate, and cool the body with wet clothing. If symptoms persist, seek medical help immediately.

7. Learn About Local Wildlife

Summer not only draws hikers to the trails but also awakens many creatures, some of which may pose dangers to hikers. Be aware of the local wildlife and how to react should you encounter it.

8. Stay on Marked Trails

Following marked trails helps minimize your impact on the environment, keeps you safe from hazards, and prevents you from getting lost. Besides, trails are usually shaded and cooler than open areas.

9. Tell Someone Your Plan

Before heading out, let someone know your hiking plan, including your expected return time. This simple act can be a lifesaver if an unexpected situation arises.

10. Pack Essential Safety Gear

Your backpack should include a map, compass, first-aid kit, whistle, headlamp/flashlight, and multi-tool, among other essentials. These tools can be indispensable in a crisis, even in the age of smartphones.

Summer hiking, while challenging, can be safe and enjoyable with the right preparation. By following these tips, you can ensure that your adventure in the great outdoors will be a memorable one, for all the right reasons. Stay cool, stay hydrated, and happy trails!

The wellness team at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage provides patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.

To book an appointment or learn more about the chiropractic and therapeutic massage therapy services available at our clinic, call 905-427-3202.

Keep Your Back in Mind This Summer

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back health while running

As we head into July this week, we continue to spend more time in the great outdoors with activities, such as hiking, golfing, gardening, and running.

Being active can help you maintain your flexibility and good posture, build strong bones, and relieve stress. Recreational activities are a great way to enjoy these benefits while having fun. Whether you pick up a garden rake, a golf club or pound the pavement in running shoes, the important thing is to get moving.

Just remember, as you gear up for a fun-filled summer, keep the health of your back in mind!

Here are eight tips to keep your back healthy as you exercise over the coming months:


Before hitting the links or even the back garden, consider a short activity to warm up first, like going for a short walk. Make sure to do gentle stretches to limber up muscles and joints before lifting, digging or swinging that golf club.

Learn the Proper Technique

Learn the correct technique for your activity, right from the beginning. Poor technique can cause injury to joints and muscles. For example, be sure to kneel, not bend, when planting your garden. For golfers, take professional lessons to rid yourself of bad habits in your golf swing that could hurt your back.

Maximize Your Flexibility

Maintaining good mobility for muscles and joints will contribute to your athletic ability and help prevent injury. Restrictions in muscle and joint function can hamper your technique and lead to strains and sprains. If you are a runner, take the time to stretch out calf and thigh muscles before hitting the road.

Drink Fluids

Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after physical activity. Remember that once you are thirsty, you are already starting to dehydrate. Dehydration affects your energy level and your physical functioning.

Don’t Overdo

If you have a big day of yard work planned, consider breaking up different activities into smaller chunks to avoid overloading your body. With a return to summer sports, consider a smaller training session first rather than a longer one (ie a trip to the driving range before that first round of golf).

Cool Down

Cooling down after any physical activity is just as important as warming up. Take 20 minutes for a brisk walk or a slow jog, and stretch out your muscles and joints before heading for the shower.

Treat Injuries Promptly

If you suffer an injury or experience pain from your summer recreational activities, ice the area to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Seek Professional Help

If pain persists, consult a chiropractor or health care professional to help you with your recovery. In Ontario, you don’t need a referral to see a chiropractor.

How can chiropractic and massage therapy help with your back pain?

Chiropractic treatment relieves back pain using effective clinical tools like manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue therapy, exercise, patient education and rehabilitation.

Extensively trained in spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), chiropractors are proficient in providing specialized care which has been proven effective in reducing pain, improving function, and decreasing the chances of low back pain becoming a chronic condition.

Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera can provide education on your spine and posture and create a personalized treatment plan for your low back pain designed to ease pain and lower your risk of recurrence.

Therapeutic massage therapy is also available at our clinic by Ajax massage therapists Rolf Castanheiro and Jessica Raedisch.

Call 905-427-3202 to learn more and book an appointment.

With files from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

7 Ways to Hike Smart This Summer

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Hiking is a great way to get exercise outdoors; socialize with friends, family, or coworkers; and get out and enjoy Canada’s parks this summer. In every case, it’s always a great idea to hike smart.

Here are some quick tips to add to your checklist for a hike that is safe, smart, and fun!

  1. Know the trail, and stick to it: Get to know your trail before you set out. Review the map. Get to know the entrances and exits to the trail. You should also take the time to figure out where water is available along the trail and mark it on your map. Let someone know where you’ll be hiking and when you plan to be back. Don’t venture off the plotted route.
  2. Choose an appropriate hike: Know your fitness level, and choose a hike that’s suited to your abilities, and the abilities of those in your group. Stay within your limitations and abilities, and be considerate of the group’s needs as well.
  3. Dress appropriately: This includes checking the weather and dressing appropriately or bringing along any necessary gear to accommodate an expected shift in sun, rain, or other weather patterns. Don’t set out on an overcast sky with a 50% chance of rain without a raincoat or a poncho.
  4. Pack wisely: Pack light and strategically. The heaviest items should be food and water (and you MUST bring water) and they should be easily accessible. Try to pack the heavier items close to the centre of the pack and higher up to help maintain your centre of gravity. Other essential packing items include a flashlight, extra batteries, a map, compass, whistle, and a first aid kit. Remember to consider a waterproof cover for your backpack in rainy conditions.
  5. Wear it right: This is important for your back. If you have a pack with hip and chest straps, put on the backpack, loosen all the straps, and tighten the hip belt at the hips (not above) before tightening the shoulder straps. Tighten the strap across your chest for shoulder support last.
  6. Walk and talk: When you hike, make sure you have enough energy to chat with your hiking partner. If you’re out of breath or breathing deeply, you might be pushing too hard. You know you have a good pace going if you can carry on a conversation with the person you’re hiking with.
  7. Take breaks: Don’t let your initial excitement get the better of you. Take a break for ten minutes every hour. Take that time to have a snack and drink some water. Make sure to keep your body fueled before, during, and after your hike.

Article credit: Canadian Chiropractic Association