How to Make Sure Your Camping Trip Doesn’t Go South
By Sara Butler
It’s June. Of course, this may not feel like any June you’ve ever experienced before. Summertime activities are limited in many places, but there is one activity that is fun, active, and made for social distancing -- camping!
It just so happens that June is National Camping Month. So, it might be time to dust off your sleeping bag, pack up your bug spray, and hit the trails for a camping adventure with your family. To help, the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic have come up with these easy chiropractic camping tips.
Put Your Gear in Gear
If it’s been a while since you went camping, the very first thing you need to do is ensure that your equipment is functional. Before you go, haul out all your camping equipment and set it up. Check these things specifically:
- Lights - You must have a reliable light source when you’re roughing it to keep everyone safe. You don’t want to risk a fall in the middle of the night!
- Tent and mattress - A functional tent is a must and for the sake of your spine, and an inflatable mattress is too. Set these things up and make sure to look for any holes that need to be patched.
- Navigation gear - If you’re not going to a campground, make sure to have a map and a compass or GPS to help get you where you need to go. This can help reduce the risk of getting lost and starring in the 21st century version of The Blair Witch Project.
What About Your Shoes?
A good pair of shoes to wear camping will go a long way -- literally! Uncomfortable shoes while camping are no fun, so make sure you have a pair that fit right, are comfortable, and offer the kind of support you need for the level of activity you have planned.
Good socks to help reduce friction on your feet and keep your feet dry are also a must-have. Any outdoor sporting goods store will have what you need to keep your feet comfortable and dry when you’re out in the woods, the desert, or by a lake.
Grab a Good Chair
If you’re going to rent a camping site, then you need a good chair to take with you! After all, sitting around a campfire is an iconic camping activity, one that is done best in comfort. Plus, a good chair can help to support your lower back and shoulders after a long day of outdoor activity.
Careful How You Lift
You can’t take the chiropractor with you on your camping trip, but you can take their advice to care for your back as you lift. Even small objects, if lifted incorrectly, can lead to stress and strain on the back that can result in injury.
In order to safely lift any object, you should:
- Stand close to the object, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart
- Squatting down, bend your knees and hips, never your back
- Keep your shoulders back and your chest pushed forward so your spine stays straight
- Slowly lift by using the power of your legs and hips
- Keep the object close to your body as you walk
- If you must turn, pivot at the feet, never twist at the waist
- Slowly set down the object in the same way you lifted, using only the hips and knees
If something is too big, awkward, or heavy for you to lift on your own, then get help.
Keep Posture in Mind
You’re probably going camping to help relax and take your mind off of things, but one thing that should always be on your mind is good posture. During camping activities such as setting up your tent, collecting firewood, and moving things around, focus on keeping your abdominal muscles engaged and your spine in a neutral position.
Get a Good Backpack
If you’re planning to camp after a hike, then you need to ensure you’ve got a good backpack for the sake of your spine. There are many high-quality backpacks available that are ergonomically designed to be kind to your spine.
A few things to look for in a backpack include:
- Straps that are fully adjustable
- Padded, wide straps to increase comfort
- Several compartments that allow for heavier objects to be close to your body
- A waist belt to help balance the load and increase your stability
- An internal frame that can help to spread the load
A good backpack can help you to avoid muscle strains so that when you come in for your next chiropractic adjustment, you can wow the chiropractor with your camping stories and not your camping injuries. Of course, it’s always good to see your chiropractor before you embark on an outing like this so that you’re in optimal health.
What are you waiting for? Even in a COVID-19 world, the great outdoors is calling you to get out of your house, slap on some sunscreen, and enjoy some fresh air far away from others.
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