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Your Healthy Family: UCHealth Doctor shares how to safely prepare to hike the incline

Posted at 12:16 PM, Jun 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 14:16:13-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – If hiking the Manitou Incline is on your bucket list, but you’re just too intimidated to tackle the challenge, Dr. Matt Javernick, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with UCHealth Memorial says while it’s an extreme hike and a physical challenge a little bit of preparation can go a long way.

Dr. Javernick says the first thing to consider is your current activity level.  “If you haven’t been active and you want to go and do the Incline for the first time, it can be a mind crusher and body breaker.  It can be emotionally and mentally frustrating to go out there and be beaten by a mountain that you can totally do – if you just prepare for it.”

Dr. Javernick has hiked the Incline many times, and like most people who have been to the top says it’s worth the effort.  “It’s awesome and when you do it. It’s a huge accomplishment.”

If you fall into the less physically active group, Dr. Javernick says simple steps are the way to begin.  “If you haven’t been very active you should try to work up to it. The first thing is to do ten to fifteen minute walks, two to three times a week, that is a great way to start.  Once you’re comfortable with that find some hills in your neighborhood. If you’re comfortable with that you can add some stairs.”

You can also take your training to the incline itself say’s Dr. Javernick, but make sure to set realistic goals.  “Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I’m going to go a quarter of the way up and turn around, that’s it, even if I feel good’.  The next time you can say, ‘I’m going to go to the halfway point.’”

Dr. Javernick says by setting realistic goals that in a short period of time you will be ready to make it to the top.

If you are in good shape the Incline is still a physical challenge.  Dr. Javernick says even those who are in good shape should be prepared for the consequences that may come with 2,744 steps that have an average incline of 41% in less than a mile on the way up to 8,600 feet above sea level.

“If you’re very fit and athletic, yes you can just go do it.  It is going to work different muscles and you can be sore for several days afterwards.  Know that there is a halfway point, and don’t be afraid to use that. Plan on taking your time and make sure you bring water.”

If you have questions about hiking the Incline, or about getting more active in general follow up with your doctor before you under-take any significant changes in your physical activity routine.

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