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Why are my legs sometimes shaky at the very start of a hike, and during?

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  • Why are my legs sometimes shaky at the very start of a hike, and during?

    Several times my legs have felt shaky/weak/Jello-like as soon as I started hiking. The most recent time was April 2, with the other two that come to mind dating back to this January, and then Feb of 2010. So all three times were more-or-less in cool weather. In January, I set out from Elk Lake for some of the Dixes. Despite how shaky my legs felt, I thought I had plenty of time to do the hike. I was pretty slow, and it took 19 hours. I don't remember if I felt the shakiness the last few hours, but it was with me all the way up the Beckhorn trail and to Hough. In Feb, 2010, age 55, I was shaky pulling a pulk to Nesowadnehunk Field campground, and the next day was shaky as I climbed North Brother. I don't recall if the shakes went away after starting the descent. I was on my feet 21 hours that day. The point of these two anecdotes is that despite the shaky sensation, I was not on the verge of bonking.
    I don't think medications are a factor, since I wasn't on any (except aspirin) for N. Brother, and in between the two most recent ones, I did Gray, Sky, and Marcy on the same meds as them without the shakiness.
    I usually try to eat lots of carbs the night before. I definitely remember doing that for N.Brother. I also take a multivitamin/multimineral every day, with a few extra supplements the morning of a big hike (CalMagZinc, potassium, niacin, Vit. E, selenium)
    Last edited by MarkL; 04-17-2017, 08:59 PM.
    Mark
    A bad day in cripplebrush is better than a good day at work.

    Remaining Winter NE115 peaks as of 3/11/10:

    [None]
    Yes!!!

  • #2
    Could be a circulatory problem. It also could be the cold weather bothers your muscles due to age. See a doctor and have him look you over. if you have a problem, you do not want to be out there if it manifests.
    Nothing like being in the woods.

    http://www.gerardsadirondackpics.shutterfly.com

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    • #3
      I feel like it takes me a mile before I have my legs under me and then I'm good to go. I figure that is more a reflection of my need for more training and improved fitness.

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      • Neil
        Neil commented
        Editing a comment
        Do you think it could be metabolic? Something to do with fuel not being available to the muscles?

      • gebby
        gebby commented
        Editing a comment
        Always a possibility, but in my case I think it's fitness. Usually have a pretty hearty breakfast and I know that because of my knee injury and surgery, I haven't been able to do the training that is required.

    • #4
      I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but vitamins and supplements do have side effects. I wonder if the supplements you take on the day of a hike are affecting you adversely.

      Also agree with Gerard... could be circulatory. Cold weather constricts blood vessels. That restricts blood flow and your heart rate and BP go up. Could account for the shaky feeling.

      One last question... how often do you hike? Are these last two occurrences two times out of three for four hikes? Or forty? If it's happening as a high percentage I would get to a doctor before my next hike. Actually, to be on the safe side I would consult a doctor no matter what. Miles from the trailhead is no place to be if the symptoms get worse or turn into something else.

      Good luck.

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      • NorthShore
        NorthShore commented
        Editing a comment
        Totally agree. Loading up with supplements that are a departure from one's regular routine just before a hike sounds like asking for trouble, even if it isn't the cause of shaky legs.

    • #5
      You've described how your legs shake the moment you embark on a long and challenging hike. Perhaps it's stage fright?



      ​But seriously, my guess is something with the nervous system but I'm not a doctor. Best to ask one.
      Looking for Views!

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      • #6
        Originally posted by Makwa View Post
        I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but vitamins and supplements do have side effects. I wonder if the supplements you take on the day of a hike are affecting you adversely.


        That could be. At times I've forgotten to take the extras, and the hike went well, but I don't remember which hikes those were or whether or not I had the shakes.

        Also agree with Gerard... could be circulatory. Cold weather constricts blood vessels. That restricts blood flow and your heart rate and BP go up. Could account for the shaky feeling.

        The April 2 hike was so warm that I wore only a light polypro long sleeve top, and wished I'd worn shorts. But it was still cool by summer standards.

        One last question... how often do you hike? Are these last two occurrences two times out of three for four hikes? Or forty? If it's happening as a high percentage I would get to a doctor before my next hike. Actually, to be on the safe side I would consult a doctor no matter what. Miles from the trailhead is no place to be if the symptoms get worse or turn into something else.
        This winter I did 5 hikes and remember the shakes only on those 2.
        I don't recall the same weak sensation at the start of last summer's and fall's hikes, but maybe I've forgotten.
        Mark
        A bad day in cripplebrush is better than a good day at work.

        Remaining Winter NE115 peaks as of 3/11/10:

        [None]
        Yes!!!

        Comment


        • #7
          The weakness as soon as you started hiking may be due to the slow ramp up of your heart rate. You are sitting in the car for an hour or more early in the morning and you heart rate is about as slow as it gets.

          You jump out of the car and start off at your normal pace. Your heart rate takes a few minutes to get into the range needed to provide a suddenly increased demand of nutrients and oxygen to your leg muscles.

          I have noticed this when I am wearing a heart rate monitor. Pulse doesn't just jump up instantly. Age may be a factor in why you didn't notice this as much before.

          For feeling tired well into the hike, this explanation would not apply.


          Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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