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Fitness Special—Hike Forever: Age 18-35

Build your fitness foundation with this essential physiological info, tips on eating right and exercises for staying in prime hiking shape.

Common Ailment: Traumatic Injuries

Youthful recklessness can lead to rolled ankles and wrecked knees.

Prevent Avoid taking unnecessary risks when boulder-hopping across streams or traversing loose scree slopes. Slow down on steep descents.

Soothe RICE: Ice with cold water or snow, elevate the joint as much as possible, and compress in an ACE bandage or T-shirt. But don’t wait too long to get moving again. "Inflammation peaks at around 48 hours," says John D. Kelly IV, M.D., spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, "so the joint could become too swollen to ambulate." When it’s time to hike, keep the wrap on. It’ll add support, control swelling, and reduce pain.

Strengthen Increase ankle stability by placing the outside of your foot against an immovable object and pushing outward for 15 seconds. Repeat five times; do the exercise with your inner foot. Fortify knees with quad-building single- straight-leg raises. (Lie back, raise your straightened leg, and hold for five seconds. Lower slowly and repeat 10 times.)

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