It is important for individuals with bleeding disorders to participate in some form of physical activity. Being physically active helps to strengthen one’s muscles, bones and joints. One of the many benefits of having a strong healthy body can be a reduction in the number of bleeding episodes an individual might experience.
Of equal importance is considering safety when finding an activity to participate in. Summer is a great time to get outdoors and explore the world around you. Hiking can be a safe and enjoyable form of exercise for individuals with a bleeding disorder. Before heading out and hitting the trails, there are a few safety measures one should consider:
1. Check the weather and plan your route. Print maps and pack a compass. Don’t forget to tell a friend or family member the route you are taking and when you plan to return.
2. Pack personal supplies: factor, medical kits, high protein snacks, plenty of water (don’t drink from spring), insect repellent, sunscreen disinfectant, whistle, cell phone, and anything else that will support a fun hike.
3. Clothing: Dress comfortably but bring clothing for the worst possible scenarios. Weather can change quickly at high elevations and summits will leave you more exposed to natural elements. Always be prepared for rain, thunder and lightening, strong sun exposure and cold weather. Make sure to wear proper fitting hiking boots or sturdy shoes, socks, lightweight pants and a long-sleeved shirt and rain gear. Don’t forget to wear your medical identification bracelet or necklace.
4. Never hike alone, use the rule of three. When you go hiking, there should always be at least three people. The main reason is that if someone gets hurt, having a group of three people allows one person to stay with the person who is hurt while the third person can go to get help.
5. Know where you can get medical care. Know exactly how far you are from the nearest Ranger station and/or hospital. Knowing this information in advance can save a life.
6. Take mini breaks and pace yourself. Taking a break is great time to drink water and have small snacks. Let the slowest person walk in front. Let their speed set the pace of the group.
7. Avoid sunburn by wearing a hat, covering your arms and wearing sunscreen.
8. Take your time, have fun, and always remember SAFETY MATTERS!!