Do you plan to go hiking this summer?

happy senior couple hiking on the mountain“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.” – Mary Davis, CEO of the Special Olympics

.We’re pretty lucky to live in Tuscaloosa County. There is plenty to do and see, especially if you’re willing to strap on your hiking shoes. This summer, challenge yourself and start hiking. There are some wonderful, easy trails to get started on right here in our county before you progress to some of the more difficult trails in the state.

Start with something easy like the Munny Sokol Park Trail. It’s a gentle 2.5-mile loop, and you can even take your dog (as long as they stay on the leash).

But if you’re ready to graduate to some of the more difficult climbs in the state, such as the Walls of Jericho Trail, it’s best to make sure you’re ready for the difficulty, especially if you’re living with vein issues.

Here are our tips to make hiking easier, even if you have varicose or spider veins.

  • Make sure you have the proper footwear. Choosing the right hiking boot or shoe is a complicated process. Visit your local outdoor recreation shop and speak to an expert. Ensure you thoroughly try your shoes out and break them in before you go for a big hike!
  • Wear compression socks (or clothing). If your legs are prone to swelling or pain, compression wear can help. Make sure to choose the right type of socks to help manage your pain, or keep a couple of different pairs in your pack during the hike. You can even try out athletic compression leggings or outerwear to help.
  • Make sure you stay hydrated. Hydration is so important when you are exercising outdoors, especially if you have vein health issues. You want to ensure that your body has enough H20 in your system to keep your circulation flowing. Pack extra water and stay hydrated as you go.
  • Use walking poles. Walking poles or trekking poles are a great way to alleviate some pressure on your joints as you hike. They can improve your posture and stability and help on uphill stretches. If you’re considering using poles, talk to an expert at an outdoor recreation shop to find the best ones for your body.
  • Bring healthy, low-sodium snacks. Stay away from salty foods like trail mix or beef jerky. They can cause swelling and dehydration. Instead, pack fresh fruit (if you can), whole grains, or dried fruit. Make sure to have plenty of food to keep your body’s energy levels high.

Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors, make memories with your family, and stay healthy. It’s also an easy way to start exercising. So if you are new to exercise or recovering from vein treatment, start slow. Use the local trails around town to build up your stamina until you’re ready to tackle a more difficult hike.