Prioritizing Your Mental Health This Month

May is Mental Health Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and reducing stigma surrounding mental health issues.

At T&F Pharmacies, we understand the significance of mental well-being and are committed to providing support and resources to our community. In this article, we’ll explore the role of pharmacy services in mental health care, offer guidance on seeking help, emphasize the importance of prioritizing mental health, and encourage checking in on others.

How Pharmacy Services Can Help:

Pharmacists play a crucial role in managing medications for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. They provide guidance on proper medication use, potential side effects, and interactions with other medications.

 Our pharmacy locations offer convenient prescription filling services to ensure timely access to mental health medications. Automatic refill reminders and synchronization programs help streamline the refill process and promote medication adherence. Additionally, we carry a variety of over-the-counter remedies that may help alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, including herbal supplements, sleep aids, and stress-relief products.

How to Seek Out Help:


If you’re experiencing persistent or severe mental health symptoms, consider seeking support from a mental health professional, such as a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. They can provide personalized treatment recommendations and support tailored to your needs. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your pharmacist to discuss your symptoms, concerns, or questions about mental health medications. Pharmacists are accessible healthcare professionals who can offer guidance and support for mental health concerns.

The Importance of Prioritizing Mental Health:


Mental health affects every aspect of our lives, from our relationships and work performance to our physical health and quality of life. Prioritizing mental health is essential for overall well-being and resilience. By openly discussing mental health and seeking help when needed, we can help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness and create a more supportive and compassionate community.

Checking on Others:


Regularly check in with friends, family members, and colleagues to see how they’re doing emotionally. Offer a listening ear, show empathy, and encourage seeking help if needed. Foster open and honest conversations about mental health in your community and encourage others to seek support when needed. Together, we can create a culture of understanding and support for mental health.

Take Action with T&F Pharmacies:


If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, T&F Pharmacies is here to help. 

Contact us via our website or visit one of our pharmacy locations to learn more about our mental health support services and resources. Our compassionate team is dedicated to providing guidance, support, and assistance to help you prioritize your mental well-being. Let’s work together to ensure that no one faces mental health challenges alone.

Achieving Your Healthiest Self

Maintaining a healthy weight is not just about appearance; it’s about optimizing your overall well-being and reducing the risk of chronic health conditions. Getting an early start is key to this.

At T&F Pharmacies, we’re here to help to support you on your weight management journey -it’s of utmost priority for our patients to understand the  importance of weight management, provide valuable tips for success, and highlight how vitamin supplements and medications like semaglutides can aid in efforts to help with overall health goals. Plus, we’ll tell you more about our compounding pharmacy, Atlas Drug & Nutrition, where personalized wellness counseling is available to guide you every step of the way as you look to achieve a better overall feeling of wellness.

So, why does weight management matter?

  • It can improve your overall health outcomes: Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of various health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
  • It can provide an enhanced quality of life:: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can lead to increased energy levels, improved mobility, and better overall mood and mental health. You will definitely feel better, perform better, and feel a greater sense of wellbeing.
  • It can help you live longer: There has been research that shows that individuals who maintain a healthy weight tend to live longer and enjoy a higher quality of life in their later years.

Some important tips for you to take into consideration.

  • Always maintain a balanced diet: Focus on consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods, sugary snacks, and excessive alcohol intake. Ask for us to help you in creating a personalized diet.
  • Regular exercise is key: Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine is very important – aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. You can choose activities that you enjoy to help make staying active more enjoyable. Even just going for long walks can help!
  • Remember to stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help you stay hydrated and support your body’s natural functions. Try to create a habit of regular water consumption. Limit soda beverages, and opt for water or herbal teas instead. You will get used to the change.

How can vitamin supplements help with all of this?

Using the right vitamin supplements can help complement your weight loss journey by supporting overall health and addressing nutritional deficiencies that may arise during calorie restriction – depending on your chosen diet.

Some key vitamins and minerals to consider include:

  • Vitamin D: Helps regulate metabolism and supports bone health.
  • B Vitamins: Assist in energy production and metabolism.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Reduce inflammation and support heart health.

Remember to always ask for guidance and advice before choosing any supplements.

Using semaglutides for weight loss. What are they?

Semaglutides are a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists, which have been shown to aid in weight loss by decreasing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness.  Our compounding pharmacy, Atlas Drug & Nutrition, offers personalized formulations of semaglutides for patients seeking additional support in their weight management journey. Get in touch with us to find out how these work, and how we can create the right fit for you.

It’s the right time to to take action.

Are you ready to take control of your weight and improve your health? 

Visit our website to learn more and to get in touch, or you can visit one of our pharmacy locations to learn more about our weight management offering. Our knowledgeable pharmacists and wellness counselors are here to provide personalized guidance and support to help you on this journey together towards a happier, healthier you.

Spring Into Wellness: Managing Allergies

As the first day of spring approaches, so does the season of renewal and rejuvenation. However, for many individuals, springtime also brings the dreaded onset of allergies. At T&F Pharmacies, we understand the challenges that allergies can present, and we’re here to provide solutions to help you navigate this seasonal shift. Let’s explore common allergy symptoms and highlight some essential medications and remedies available at our pharmacy locations.


Understanding Allergies


Spring allergies, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever, are typically triggered by pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. Common symptoms include:

  1. Sneezing
  2. Runny or stuffy nose
  3. Itchy or watery eyes
  4. Scratchy throat
  5. Coughing
  6. Fatigue

Vitamins for Immune Support


Maintaining a strong immune system is crucial, especially during allergy season. Certain vitamins and supplements can help support your immune health and alleviate allergy symptoms. Consider incorporating the following into your daily routine:

  1. Vitamin C: Known for its antioxidant properties, vitamin C can help reduce inflammation and support immune function.
  2. Vitamin D: Adequate levels of vitamin D have been linked to improved immune function and reduced risk of allergic diseases.
  3. Quercetin: This plant-derived flavonoid acts as a natural antihistamine and may help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Eye Drops for Relief

For individuals experiencing itchy, red, or irritated eyes due to allergies, eye drops can provide quick and effective relief. Antihistamine eye drops help alleviate itching and redness by blocking histamine receptors in the eyes. Other types of eye drops may help lubricate the eyes and wash away allergens, providing soothing comfort.

Getting Help

If you’re struggling with allergy symptoms, T&F Pharmacies is here to help. Our knowledgeable pharmacists can recommend the right medications and remedies to alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Whether you need antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, or eye drops, we have a wide selection of allergy relief products available at our pharmacy locations.

Don’t let allergies dampen your enjoyment of the spring season. Visit one of our T&F Pharmacies locations or reach out via our website to learn more about allergy relief options and get personalized assistance from our friendly team of professionals. Let us help you spring into wellness and enjoy the beauty of the season allergy-free.



Celebrating Employee Appreciation

At T&F Pharmacies, we believe that our employees are the heart and soul of our organization. As Employee Appreciation Day approaches each year, we always want to take the opportunity to express our gratitude for the dedication, hard work, and passion our team brings to their roles each day. Join us in celebrating the values of care, collaboration, and career progression as we reflect on the importance of being part of a pharmacy team that prioritizes employee satisfaction and growth.

Employee Appreciation Day: Honoring Our Team

Employee Appreciation Day is not just a date on the calendar—it’s a reminder to recognize and celebrate the contributions of our team members. At T&F Pharmacies, we understand the importance of acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our employees year-round. From frontline staff to behind-the-scenes professionals, each member of our team plays a vital role in delivering exceptional care and service to our customers.

Mission, Vision, and Values: Fostering Employee Satisfaction

Our mission, vision, and values are centered around employee satisfaction and well-being. We believe that by creating a supportive and inclusive work environment, we empower our team members to thrive personally and professionally. Our commitment to care, integrity, and teamwork guides everything we do, ensuring that every employee feels valued, respected, and appreciated.

Care and Helping Others: Fulfilling Careers in Pharmacy

At the heart of our pharmacy team is a shared commitment to care and helping others. Whether it’s assisting customers with their medication needs, providing expert advice and guidance, or supporting community health initiatives, our employees make a difference in the lives of others every day. If you’re passionate about making a positive impact and contributing to a caring and compassionate team, we invite you to join us at T&F Pharmacies.

Joining a Winning Team: Opportunities for Growth and Development

When you join T&F Pharmacies, you become part of a winning team dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of others. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your career, we offer opportunities for growth, development, and advancement. From training programs to mentorship opportunities, we invest in our employees’ success and help them reach their full potential.

If you’re looking for a rewarding career opportunity in pharmacy and share our values of care, integrity, and teamwork, we want to hear from you. Visit our website to explore open vacancies and learn more about joining our winning team. Together, let’s continue to make a difference and celebrate the power of employee appreciation every day. 

Join T&F Pharmacies and be part of something meaningful.

Navigating the Journey Towards a Stronger Heart

As February unfolds, we dive into American Heart Month, a dedicated period to spotlight the importance of cardiovascular health. Our hearts, the silent heroes tirelessly pumping life through our veins, deserve our attention and care. In this article, we unravel the intricacies of heart health, explore the risks of heart disease, and take actionable steps to foster a robust cardiovascular system.

Understanding the Cardiovascular Landscape:

The heart, a marvel of biological engineering, fuels our every move. Yet, the reality is that heart disease remains a formidable adversary, posing significant threats. From high blood pressure to elevated cholesterol levels, the warning signs often go unnoticed until it’s too late. Awareness becomes our first line of defense.

Dangers Lurking Within:

Heart disease doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, irrespective of age or background. Sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary choices, and stress weave a dangerous tapestry that heightens the risk. Ignoring these warning signs places our hearts on a precarious path, with potentially severe consequences.

Empowering Ourselves:

The good news? There’s much we can do to safeguard our hearts. Regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet, and stress management form the pillars of a robust cardiovascular routine. Small, consistent changes in our daily lives can yield significant long-term benefits.

Staying Active and Aware

  1. Move Regularly: Incorporate physical activity into your routine. Even a brisk walk can do wonders for your heart.

  2. Nourish Your Heart: Opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Limit saturated fats and sodium intake.

  3. Manage Stress: Practice mindfulness, engage in activities you love, and prioritize mental well-being.

  4. Regular Check-ups: Keep tabs on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Early detection is key to prevention.

Take Action with T&F Pharmacies

At T&F Pharmacies, we’re not just here for your prescriptions; we’re your partners in holistic health. Our locations are equipped to provide guidance, support, and resources for your heart health journey. Reach out to our team to discuss personalized strategies, medication management, and overall wellness.

Let’s make American Heart Month a catalyst for lasting heart health. Together, we can fortify our hearts and celebrate the incredible resilience of the human cardiovascular system.

Ready to prioritize your heart health? Visit any of our T&F Pharmacies locations today – because a healthy heart is a beating heart.

A Healthy Start: Your Guide to Wellness in the New Year

As the new year unfolds, many of us embark on a journey to prioritize our health and well-being. It’s a time to set new goals, adopt healthier habits, and make positive changes in our lives. T&F Pharmacies is here to support you on your wellness journey, offering personalized health consultations to help you achieve your health goals. Let’s explore some practical tips for staying healthy in the new year, with a focus on exercise and nutrition.

Tips for a Healthy New Year

1. Set Realistic Exercise Goals

Start with achievable exercise goals that align with your fitness level and lifestyle. Whether it’s a daily walk, a home workout routine, or joining a fitness class, find activities you enjoy to make staying active a sustainable part of your routine.

2. Incorporate Variety into Your Workouts

Keep things interesting by incorporating a variety of exercises into your routine. This could include cardiovascular activities like running or cycling, strength training, flexibility exercises, and mindfulness practices such as yoga or meditation.

3. Prioritize Nutrient-Rich Foods

Fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods that provide the essential vitamins and minerals needed for overall well-being. Incorporate a colorful array of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your meals.

4. Stay Hydrated

Adequate hydration is vital for various bodily functions, including digestion, nutrient absorption, and temperature regulation. Make a habit of drinking water throughout the day and limit the consumption of sugary beverages.

5. Practice Mindful Eating

Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Avoid distractions like screens during meals, savor the flavors of your food, and listen to your body’s signals to avoid overeating

6. Get Quality Sleep

Prioritize getting enough quality sleep, as it plays a crucial role in overall health. Develop a consistent sleep routine, create a comfortable sleep environment, and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

7. Manage Stress Levels

Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily life, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or spending time in nature. Chronic stress can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health.

8. Regular Health Checkups

Schedule regular health checkups to monitor your overall health and catch any potential issues early. This includes screenings, vaccinations, and discussions with healthcare professionals about your well-being.

At T&F Pharmacies, we are dedicated to supporting your journey towards a healthier, happier you. If you’re ready to take the next step in prioritizing your health in the new year, consider booking a health consultation with our experienced professionals.

During a health consultation, we can discuss your specific health goals, review your current habits, and provide personalized guidance on nutrition, exercise, and overall well-being. Contact us at one of our pharmacy locations to schedule your health consultation and start the new year with a proactive approach to your health.

Let’s work together to make 2024 your healthiest year yet!

Yearly Viruses: A Guide to Protection and Preparedness

As the seasons change, so do the threats of yearly viruses like the flu, Covid, and RSV. Staying healthy and protected requires a proactive approach, ensuring that your immune system is fortified and your medications are up to date. In this article, we’ll explore how you can shield yourself from these common viruses and emphasize the importance of maintaining optimal health with the help of T&F Pharmacies. Read on to discover valuable insights and take the first step towards a healthier, virus-resistant you.

Understanding Yearly Viruses

The Flu: A Seasonal Visitor

Influenza, or the flu, is an annual concern as temperatures drop. It presents symptoms such as fever, body aches, and respiratory issues. Annual flu vaccinations are a crucial preventive measure to reduce the risk of infection and its potential complications.


Covid-19: The Ongoing Challenge

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we approach our health. Staying vigilant with preventive measures, including vaccination and continued hygiene practices, remains crucial to curb the spread and impact of the virus.


RSV: A Concern for All Ages

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) primarily affects the respiratory tract and can be particularly severe for young children and older adults. Maintaining overall health and following preventive measures are key to reducing the risk of RSV infection.

Protecting Yourself: Vitamins, Medications, and More

Keep Your Vitamins Up to Date

Essential vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in supporting your immune system. Ensure that your diet is rich in immune-boosting nutrients, and consider supplements if needed. Vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc are particularly known for their immune-supportive properties.

Stay Current with Medications

If you have any chronic conditions or require regular medications, it’s essential to stay on top of your prescriptions. Consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to ensure your medications are up to date, and you have an ample supply on hand.

Practice Good Hygiene Habit

Basic hygiene practices, such as frequent handwashing, using hand sanitizers, and avoiding close contact with sick individuals, are effective measures to prevent the spread of viruses. Incorporate these habits into your daily routine.

Get Vaccinated

Vaccination remains one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from several viruses, including the flu and Covid-19. Stay informed about vaccine availability, and consult with healthcare professionals to ensure you’re up to date on recommended vaccinations.

At T&F Pharmacies, we prioritize your health and well-being, especially during the challenging seasons of yearly viruses. If you have questions about vaccinations, medications, or general health consultations, our experienced team is here to assist you. Take the proactive step of booking an appointment at one of our pharmacy locations.

Whether you need a flu shot, a medication review, or guidance on immune-boosting supplements, our dedicated professionals are ready to support you on your journey to a healthier, more resilient you. Contact us today and let’s work together to keep you protected and well-prepared for the challenges of the upcoming year.

Topical Pain Medication: A Safer Path to Chronic Pain Relief

Living with chronic pain can be an overwhelming and persistent challenge, impacting various aspects of daily life. While there are numerous approaches to managing chronic pain, the rise of opioid-related concerns has led the medical community to explore safer alternatives. One such alternative gaining attention is topical pain medication. Let’s explore how topical pain medication is changing the landscape of chronic pain treatment, providing effective relief with a reduced risk of addiction and adverse effects.


The Opioid Dilemma in Chronic Pain Management


  1. Risk of Addiction and Misuse Opioid medications, often prescribed for chronic pain, come with a significant risk of addiction and misuse. The potential for dependence on these medications poses a serious concern, leading healthcare professionals and patients alike to seek safer alternatives.
  2. Life-Threatening Consequences Opioids can have life-threatening consequences, including respiratory depression and overdose. The alarming rise in opioid-related fatalities has prompted a reevaluation of pain management strategies to prioritize patient safety while still addressing the root causes of chronic pain.


The Rise of Topical Pain Medication


  1. Targeted Relief with Fewer Side Effects Topical pain medications, applied directly to the skin over the affected area, offer targeted relief with minimal systemic absorption. This localized approach reduces the risk of systemic side effects commonly associated with oral medications, providing a safer option for chronic pain sufferers.
  2. Minimized Risk of Dependency Unlike opioid medications, topical pain relievers have a lower risk of dependence or addiction. The reduced likelihood of developing a tolerance to these medications makes them a favorable choice for long-term pain management.
  3. Diverse Formulations for Different Needs Topical pain medications come in various formulations, including creams, patches, gels, and ointments. These diverse options allow for customization based on the type and location of pain, providing a tailored approach to individual patient needs.
  4. Applicability to Various Conditions Topical pain relief is suitable for a range of conditions, including arthritis, muscle pain, neuropathic pain, and localized injuries. This versatility makes it an attractive option for individuals dealing with different forms of chronic pain.

Explore Topical Pain Medication Options with T&F Pharmacies


At T&F Pharmacies, we understand the challenges of chronic pain and the importance of finding effective, safe solutions. If you or a loved one is seeking alternatives to traditional pain management approaches, consider exploring topical pain medication options available at our pharmacy locations.


Our experienced healthcare professionals are ready to guide you through the selection of topical pain relievers tailored to your specific needs. Contact us at one of our pharmacy locations to learn more about how topical pain medication can provide the relief you deserve without the risks associated with traditional pain management approaches. Let’s work together to redefine your journey towards a life with less pain and more comfort.

The Importance of Planning for Your Family’s Long-Term Care

As our lives evolve, so do the needs of our loved ones, especially as they enter the later stages of life. Long-term care planning is a crucial step in ensuring the well-being of your family members, and choosing the right facilities and services is paramount. To help you understand this more, we’re going delve into the importance of planning for your family’s long-term care, with a focus on the role of long-term care pharmacies and specialized services. T&F Pharmacies is here to guide you through this journey and offer support at every step.


The Importance of Long-Term Care Planning


  1. Preserving Quality of Life: Long-term care planning involves anticipating and addressing the potential health and lifestyle needs of your loved ones. This proactive approach ensures that they can maintain a high quality of life as they age, even if they require specialized care.
  2. Financial Preparedness: Long-term care facilities and services can incur significant costs. Planning ahead allows you to make informed financial decisions, ensuring that your loved ones have access to the care they need without causing financial strain on the family.
  3. Peace of Mind for Everyone: Knowing that your family members have a well-thought-out long-term care plan in place provides peace of mind for both you and them. It alleviates stress during challenging times and allows your loved ones to age with dignity and grace.


The Role of Long-Term Care Pharmacies


  1. Medication Management: Long-term care often involves complex medication regimens. Long-term care pharmacies specialize in managing medications for individuals in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, ensuring accurate dispensing, monitoring for interactions, and providing education on proper administration.
  2. Personalized Care Plans: Long-term care pharmacies work closely with healthcare providers to create personalized care plans for residents. This includes tailoring medication regimens to individual needs, considering any allergies or sensitivities, and addressing specific health conditions.
  3. Convenience and Accessibility: Long-term care pharmacies offer convenient services like medication synchronization and delivery to the facility. This streamlines the medication management process for both residents and facility staff, enhancing overall efficiency and ensuring that medications are readily available.



Choosing the Right Long-Term Care Services


  1. Evaluate Facilities Carefully: When selecting a long-term care facility, consider factors such as the quality of care, available services, staff expertise, and resident testimonials. Ensure that the facility aligns with the specific needs and preferences of your loved ones.
  2. Research Specialized Care Services: Depending on your loved one’s health condition, seek facilities that offer specialized care services, such as memory care for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This ensures that their unique needs are addressed with the utmost expertise and compassion.
  3. Plan for Future Needs: Choose a long-term care facility that has the flexibility to adapt to changing health conditions. This future-focused approach ensures that your loved ones can seamlessly transition to different levels of care if necessary.


At T&F Pharmacies, we understand the importance of comprehensive long-term care planning for your family. If you’re considering or currently navigating the process of choosing a long-term care facility, our experienced team is here to assist you. Get in touch at one of our pharmacy locations to discuss how we can support your family’s long-term care needs. Together, let’s ensure that your loved ones receive the specialized care and attention they deserve in the years to come.

Getting Ready for Hiking in the Fall and Winter

We are pleased to welcome Tom Willemann, Physical Therapist and Owner of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Wyckoff, New Jersey, as a guest blogger. Tom brings over 25 years of experience helping people meet their goals to remain active and independent through exercise. For additional guidance on resuming an active lifestyle following an injury, or for inquiries related to orthopedic and sports-related injuries, please feel free to reach out to him at Learn more about Tom and his clinic, and find links to his various informative social media channels, on Apex’s website: 


How to Get Ready for Hiking in the Fall and Winter 


For many, regular exercise can be viewed as a chore; dreaded by many, but necessary for everyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  The benefits are numerous, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic’s article, Why Exercise? Know the Benefits. The APTA released guidelines on exercise that basically state we all need to move a little more than we currently do. (Read more of the APTA’s current guidelines in more detail here: American Physical Therapy Association.) 


Health Benefits of Hiking 


As the weather begins to cool and many are starting to hibernate at their local indoor gyms to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike, why not start a new exercise habit? Despite the dropping temperatures, get outside instead! The reasons to start hiking year-round are clear: From controlling blood pressure to improving endurance to increasing strength and maintaining bone density, hiking offers a multitude of physical health benefits that can help you lead a more active and fulfilling lifestyle. With the proper gear, clothing, mindset and physical preparation, you can happily hike throughout the fall and winter. Autumn in North Jersey is a great time to take advantage of the beautiful foliage and venture out for a long walk in the woods. There are a ton of options for great hikes that are just a short drive from our Wyckoff clinic alone, ranging from easy gravel roads to more challenging hikes that require hiking sticks during certain times of the year.



Local Hikes to Start Exploring 


I’ve been on many incredible hikes in our area over the years, but my two favorite local hikes will always be Van Slyke Ruins (off Skyline Drive) and High Mountain State Park. Both locations are in close proximity to Wyckoff and provide the additional advantage of offering a sense of being distanced from suburban life while still being linked to New York City. They boast views of the city skyline, and weather permitting, you can enjoy panoramic views of most of Manhattan in the distance. (Don’t forget to pack binoculars!) Fun fact: While hiking Van Slyke Ruins, fans of The Hunger Games might recognize the little island on Ramapo Lake, off the Fire Road, from the opening scenes. 


Equipment Recommendations for the First Time Hiker 


So, how do we make this hike a positive experience for all? The answer is: Preparation, preparation and more preparation. 


Hiking is a great way to start a cardiovascular program that is paired with getting out in the woods, away from the stresses of the world. Before we even start to plan our hike, we first have to consider the best equipment. Necessary hiking gear includes: Proper clothing, appropriate footwear, a light backpack, a water bottle and adequate nutrition, walking sticks, and, depending how long you are out for, a downloadable or printed map. Over the years, I have stocked up on hiking equipment locally at both Campmor and REI. Both have physical locations in Paramus and have staff that truly live and breathe the outdoors; they are typically great sources of hiking information, from tents to water filtration to the right hiking boots. Additionally, I encourage you to do a bit of research before you head out to get a sense of the location’s degree of difficulty. An appAPP I’ve used, and recommend, is All Trails, which gives you a quick description of distance, difficulty level and type of terrain. 


Exercise Plan for Your First Hike


While it’s necessary – and quite fun – to accumulate all of your hiking equipment, of utmost importance is being physically ready. This is especially recommended if you are not currently walking, cycling or doing some form of cardiovascular exercise. We suggest that beginners start with a simple exercise program, preferably four to six weeks prior to your inaugural hike, that encompasses the following components: 


  • Cardiovascular Conditioning 
  • Flexibility and Mobility Work 
  • Strength Training 
  • Balance Exercises 


First, head to the local high school track to get an understanding of how far you can walk without feeling like you’re pushing the limit of your ability. Most high school tracks are a quarter mile and, of course, flat. Record your start and end time on your watch, and track your distance. This will serve as a baseline for your fitness program and give you an idea of what length hike you should start with. Keep in mind that many variables have to be considered when determining if you can do the hike comfortably. A useful rule, which I made up and coined “The 50% Rule”, is: For every one mile you can walk on flat surfaces with minimal grade, assume you can do 1/2 mile easily in the woods. This serves as a rough guide; adjust accordingly once you have a few hikes under your belt. Please note: If you carry a heavy backpack or bring along a stubborn child who refuses to walk any further, that equation will most likely not work! 


Second, try to walk outside at least three times per week, with a day of rest in between, for four to six weeks prior to going on your first hike. If you plan a hike with hills, pick walks that simulate the demands of your first hike. Another alternative is to join a local gym and hop on a treadmill; many simulate hills as well as your desired pace. 



Next, consider your flexibility and mobility issues. It is always easier to manage rocks, low branches and various inclines deep in the woods with good baseline flexibility. Every sport or activity has its specific demands; a gymnast has very different demands than a powerlifter. If you are really interested in improving general mobility and flexibility, taking yoga a couple times a week is a nice alternative leading up to your first hike. For many, the demands of hiking, especially ones of relatively modest hills or very little in the way of obstacles, much focus in this area may not be necessary. 


I’m going to highlight a few basic stretches that should take only 10 minutes daily. One of the keys to effective stretching is daily stretches at a long duration, at least 30-60 seconds in length, at the end of the available range of movement. You should feel pressure at the end of the stretch, but not pain. If you do find it to be slightly uncomfortable, it should be mild and dissipate within a few minutes. Remember: You should feel good at the end. I prefer stretching after being up and active for at least 15 minutes or after a 5-10 minute walk. Each stretch should be performed a minimum of three times for 30- 60 seconds each day. 


Here is a list of the stretches I recommend for a return to hiking:


  • Gastro Calf Stretch 
  • Hamstring and Lower Back Stretch 
  • Lumbar Extension Stretch 
  • Hip Flexor Stretch 
  • Quadriceps Stretch 
  • Warrior Yoga Stretch 


Here is a list of the top strengthening exercises for hiking: 


  • Heel and Toe Raises 
  • Bodyweight Squats 
  • Bulgarian Squats 
  • Prone Planks 


All exercises should be done in three sets of eight reps with two minutes of rest in between sets. If you can easily do more, we will show you ways to increase the difficulty of dumbbell weights. In the early stages, don’t worry about weight, but going forward, once you can do over 15 reps, you should add weight in order to make strength gains. 


The last piece worth adding to your program is balance exercise. If you are interested in finding out how good your balance is, try the Unilateral Stance Test. This is how we do the test in the clinic: With eyes open and hands on hips, the patient stands on one leg unassisted; time begins when the opposite foot leaves the ground; time stops immediately when the opposite foot touches the ground and/or when hands leave the hips. If unable to stand for five seconds or less, you are at a greater risk of injury from fall. The “Single Leg Stance, With or Without Leg Swing” is a simple exercise based on the balance test just discussed. 


Keep in mind, most of this advice is for the beginner hiker and more sedentary person who wants a good entry point to becoming more active. For more active individuals, you may already be strong enough to perform and are ready to venture out into the woods! Exercising out in nature is one of my favorite things to do, whether it be mountain biking, hiking or downhill skiing. I hope you find this blog to be inspiring and these tips to be helpful. Best of luck! 


To contact Tom Willemann, Owner and Physical Therapist from Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation, please visit the clinic’s web site at, call the clinic at 201-251-2422, or email the clinic at 


Medical Disclaimer: The information provided by Tom Willemann from Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Wyckoff, New Jersey is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use this information for the diagnosis or specific treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, or supplemental program, before taking any medication, or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication and/or should not discontinue any prescribed treatment or exercise without first consulting your physician. The opinions expressed by Tom Willemann from Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation are of the author and the author alone.