Hiking and Enjoying Nature to Help Joint Pain

Hiking can help joint pain. While moving joints when you have chronic joint pain may aggravate pain, not moving them can lead to stiffer joints and even worse joint pain. There are ways to build in movement and at the same time de-stress and enjoy nature which can help reduce the inflammation that leads to joint pain. You just need to know your limitations and work up to a challenge.

While in Arizona, my brother-in-law and I hiked the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail. The trail is classified as moderate, but it is fairly steep up and down the mountain, traversing granite rocks ranging from small to super huge boulders, and then back up and down to get back. The trail took almost 4 hours with an elevation gain of 1699 ft and the maximum elevation was 5501 ft.

My brother-in-law and me hiking the hotshots memorial trail

I had some concern about lasting the over 7 plus mile journey, given that my arthritic feet were having to travel over such uneven terrain. Preparing was key. My husband and I walk 4 miles almost daily. Also, I take supplements and follow a diet that has significantly reduced my joint inflammation and pain. Hiking shoes that I have worn on less difficult trails also helped to stabilized my feet and ankles, providing support and tread to prevent slipping.

Practicing balance with my Slackblock helped me if I started to stumble, regain my balance quickly. Taking short breaks on the incline to read the memorial plaques honoring the 19 hotshot firefighters that died in the Yarnell fire in 2013 and enjoying the mountain scenery and flowers was key.

Looking down from Granite Mountain near Yarnell, Arizona

After we hit the summit of our climb, we descended down the other side of the mountain to the memorial site where the hotshots died. It was really moving to see all the fire company t-shirts from across the country and other paraphernalia that people have left honoring these brave men.

The Memorial Site of the Granite Mountain Hotshots

While we did not see many animals, there were beautiful wild flowers along the way to enjoy while we were exerting ourselves on the climb along the mountain trail.

After the hike, I felt great, but took some more preventative natural anti-inflammatory supplements. The next day…no stiffness or pain! You, too, can learn how to use diet and lifestyle interventions to help reduce joint pain. When you do, you feel like you’ve conquered the world!

Leaning agains a granite boulder overlooking the cliffs of Granite Mountain.

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