You did it! You went out, hit the trail and saw some beautiful nature. Now that you’ve taken off your hiking boots, the work it’s over. Before you settle in to scroll through all of the epic pictures you got on your hike, remember to treat your body well so that it recovers appropriately for your next hike.
If you don’t take the proper steps to recover, your body could be sore and stiff after your hike. You might even experience some injuries or long-term effects from failing to take recovery seriously. Just like you took the time to get in shape for your hike, make sure that you understand what your body needs after a long hike.
Get a Lot of Rest
Give your body some well-earned rest after a long hike. Your muscles need some downtime, and there’s a good chance that you’re feeling physically exhausted as well. Give yourself permission to lay around on the couch and catch up on your Netflix queue.
Giving your body some time to rest allows it to build necessary muscle mass and repair all of the minor damage that was done during your hike. It’s important to let your body work through the exercise. Your reward for resting will be a healthier, more functional body that can take you farther and longer on your hikes.
Use A Muscle Roller
Muscle rollers work specific areas of the body by stretching out and rolling the muscles. This helps to alleviate any cramps and keeps your muscles nice and limber in the long run. Muscle rollers are used by endurance athletes all of the time, and they really work wonders for stubborn spots on your body.
Initially, it might be uncomfortable or maybe even mildly painful to use the muscle roller. A little discomfort is natural, as you are working through undoing all of the knots in your muscle tissue. If you do it properly, you will feel quite a bit better after you are done. Muscle rollers are great for certain parts of the body, like legs.
Your body loses a lot of water while it’s working hard, so it’s very important to hydrate before, during, and after your hike. Water is the best way to get your body back to optimal shape, but you can also drink something that has a lot of electrolytes in it. Electrolytes help your muscles function better and stimulate interactions within your body that can aid it in healing.
Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of common hiking problems like cramps and fatigue. If you are dehydrated, you will feel dizzy after a long hike, and your body will take a longer time to recover. Make sure that you drink more water than you think you need, and continue hydrating for at least twelve hours after your hike. Your body will cycle through the water faster and needs more to fortify itself.
Stretch Out Your Muscles
Many people skip the post-workout stretch, and it rarely ends well for them. Stretching is the best way to give your muscles a break and help them get back into their regular positions. If you don’t stretch properly, you will experience cramping and discomfort. Improper stretching also can lead to chronic pain or injuries. Simple stretches on the floor or against a wall can help you go faster, longer and do better on your hikes.
You only need about ten or fifteen minutes to get a proper stretch in. Consider it time well spent, as it will help you stay healthier for a lot longer. Stretching also feels good in the moment, so get on it after your long hike.
Pump Up Your Protein
Protein bars are an excellent and portable source of protein that you can tap into right after your long hike. Your body needs to build up its muscle, and one of the biggest building blocks it has to work with is protein. You will need to consume a lot more protein than you normally do right after a hike.
In addition to protein bars, you can always eat hard-boiled eggs, or meat. Eat protein within an hour of returning from your hike for the best results.
Treat Yourself To A Massage
We all love a nice massage, and the best time to get one is after a long hike. Your muscles will be sore and tense, and a massage will help to loosen up those muscles and have you feeling your best in no time. You can schedule a professional massage or do one at home with a muscle roller or handheld massage.
Regular massages might seem like luxuries, but they are actually an excellent and vital part of your workout routine. Since many hikers stretch and damage their muscles on the peaks, they need to coax those muscles back into place with massages. Another benefit of a great massage is that you will feel relaxed and renewed after you’re done.
Wear Compression Socks
Compression socks help blood flow and can assist your hike recovery. Wear them after your post-hike shower or to bed after a long day on the trails. Compression socks are a simple way to stimulate blood flow and make your feet feel better. Some people also prefer to wear them while they are out on the trail itself. How you use the socks is ultimately up to you, but they can be a valuable part of your recovery.
Hiking is one of the best ways to get back in touch with nature and really centre yourself. It’s an excellent cardio workout, and you will experience phenomenal landscapes and push yourself. There’s a reason why hiking is one of the most popular sports in the world.
Keep your body functioning at its peak and ready for the next hiking adventure with these recovery tips. You will feel great, and your body will thank you for the extra love!