Spring to me is always the time to pull my camping gear out of storage and dust off my boots. While weekend hikes are great, I try to get one major expedition in per year. You’d think training up for such an excursion would mean pre-trip prep, but what you do on the trail is just as important.
Hiking the 355km Canol Trail was one of the toughest challenges of my career as a travel writer. Each day on the trail, that sixty pound pack, weighted down with a week’s worth of provisions, ground my shoulders and back to dust. My legs quivered with exhaustion as I plodded along in stumbling clumsiness. At the end of the day, my body was a throbbing ball of ache. I expected to be paralyzed with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) each morning, but much to my surprise I woke up fresh, ready to do it all again. What was my secret?
Every evening in camp, after first replenishing my starved body with a hot meal, I ran through a top to bottom progression of joint mobility exercises from a program called Intu-Flow. It was awful at first—the last thing I wanted to do after a 12 hour day of slogging was more exercise—but as I eased into it I felt the tension melt away.
As you move each joint through its full range of motion the joint capsule is flooded with nutrition in the form of synovial fluid, and waste products that accumulate as a result of exercise are carried away. Movement is the only way to accomplish this, as the only joint that receives nutrition from blood flow after puberty is the jaw. Feeding your joints in this manner is essential if you hope to maintain good health, and it’s even more important when you’re involved in strenuous athletic activity. As I learned on the Canol, it also speeds recovery. If you want to train harder and more often, it’s an excellent tool to have in your toolbox.
Here’s a clip of my coach, Scott Sonnon, introducing some exercises from his Intu-Flow practice.
If you aren’t doing your daily joint mobility session, then you aren’t tapping into the most accessible anti-aging formula available today.