Friday evening I finished a BPL article on training for backpacking. The research for the article gave me ample cause to reflect on my laziness over the past few years.
I returned from the Grand Canyon trip pretty worked over physically, which was to be expected. Aerobically I had plenty of juice to get things done, but without the ability to train joints, some damage was inevitable. And so it came to pass; my left achilles (on my larger foot) got inflamed and as such things do, has been slow in returning to normal. There’s nothing more I can do about that, but in the long run I’ve been quite lax about core work and preemptive maintenance.
To that end, I dug my slackline out of the back of the garage, set it up, and walked a bit this afternoon.
I taught myself over a decade ago, before the activity migrated out of the climbing community and became, among other things, one of the least interesting sports in the world (which, in the 21st century, is saying something). I remember the month of flailing it took to master the basics well, and it’s interesting that in the years since these skills (standing on the line, walking forward and backward, strong side turns) never seem to get dull. First time walking in over a year, and I was able to do all of the above with ease, plus take lame selfies with my phone.
Slacklining is a great party trick. It’s also the most effective lower-body strengthener, minute for minute, toes to hips to shoulders, I’ve come across. Once you get over the steep learning curve, a 20 minute session every day makes a huge difference in balance for hiking. The mental focusing practice is also handy, and most importantly, it is very fun.
I recommend it.