Hiking is good exercise and great for your mind body and soul but it can be hard on your body. Even if you prepare correctly for your hike and are careful not to get injured your body will need some attention after the hike. Many things can be done for recovery from a hike. Just like preparing for the hike, it depends how vigorous the hike is to how much of these activities you might want or need to recover.
The first thing that you should do after every hike no matter how challenging is to hydrate. Drinking water or an electrolyte based drink after the hike is important to start healing your body. Along with hydrating refueling is also important, on the hike you might have consumed a protein bar or other small food item but post hike is the time to consume some calories. If you happen to strain or otherwise injure a body, part now it the time to consume some ibuprofen or other pain/inflammation reducer. After hydrating and eating, you may want to enjoy your favorite adult beverage at this time, during the hike it is not a safe time to consume a beer or other alcoholic beverage but now is a good time to sip that bourbon.
Rest and relaxation is the next key component to recovery and restoration. Taking time to rest your body and mind after a good hike is a good way to recover and enjoy the hike you just completed. Good sleep after a hike is extremely important to continue the healing power of rest. Other good ways to rest after a hike could include meditation or other mindful exercises that allow you to focus on your body and let be the feelings of the body. This type of rest could help pinpoint areas that may need further attention to recover.
Stretching is important whenever you do any type of physical exercise and it is important to hiking as well. There are many stretches to do to speed the recovery process. For the most part, you would focus on lower body stretches as the legs do most of the work on a hike. Stretching the quadriceps, hamstrings glutes, calves and Achilles are all good areas to recover from a hike. If you feel tension in your upper body especially the neck area, you could do some stretching exercises for those areas as well.
Massage, acupuncture and yoga are all other techniques that can aid in recovery as well. Massage can be used on specific trouble areas discovered after a hike or can be used as an overall relaxation to restore the body. Acupuncture is another technique to use mostly on a specific area that was injured during the hike. Lastly, yoga is a great way to relax and stretch after a hike and will have lasting benefits to recovery; it will also help with balance and mindfulness when you go out on the next hike. All of these body recovery techniques are good to use even if there is not an injury. They all will help prepare your body for the next hike you go on.
What other ideas do you have for recovering from a hike? What are your favorite ways to recover from any exercise?