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October 2023 Issue
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A balanced start

Improve your confidence when walking on uneven ground and help prevent ankle rolling. By Duncan Grant

River beds and boulder fields can be hard on your ankles, but ​if you put time into some exercises before your next tramp, you may find them less of a challenge.

Strive to make these exercises part of your routine this tramping season. Start with the first one, and then try to include the other two as you progress. And it’s not that difficult – it can be as easy as standing on one leg while brushing your teeth.

Stand on one leg 

This exercise helps with walking on uneven surfaces. Aim for 5–30 seconds, several times a day on each leg. Hover your hands over something sturdy if required. 

Make it harder: Do this exercise standing on a pillow, towel or wobble board. Throw a ball against the wall or with a partner.

Heel to toe walking

To help with walking on narrow paths. Aim for several repetitions daily. Find an uninterrupted floor line of one to three metres. Walk forwards and backwards along the line with the toes of the back foot touching the heel of the front foot.

Make it harder: Do it with your eyes closed.

Lateral hopping

To help with boulder hopping. Find a line or a low object to jump over sideways. Aim to hop for 10–30 seconds and do it several times in a row on each leg, a couple of times a week. 

Make it harder: Increase the height of the object to be cleared.  

 Duncan Grant is a physiotherapist and yoga instructor from Dunedin.