Hiking in nature can be a beautiful experience. Fresh air, bird watching, lovely views, and the solace of a quiet world away from the normal hustle and bustle of work. But it can also be hard work that requires a high level of physical fitness and knowledge of the outdoors. The demands of a long trail can vary from steep ascents and descents to flat plateaus for recovery. When heading outdoors, it’s best to be prepared and aware of some of the most common issues hikers face.
First, the feet, neck, and shoulder areas oftentimes take a lot of abuse when it comes to hitting any trail. With typically rough and uneven terrain, hiker’s feet are always under stress. This varied impact can place extra pressure on ankle and knee joints that can make one very stiff long after the hike is over. During steep ascents and descents, joints are also exposed to extreme angles in your heels and toes that you probably aren’t used to.
For the neck and shoulders, muscle strains are seen more when a weighted pack is being carried. With the physical pressure of the straps and weight, your range of movement is limited in a new way and your body will compensate by taxing neck and shoulder muscles. Be sure to invest in a proper lightweight pack to eliminate rubbing and blisters and have a professional help you understand how it should fit your body. This means above your hips with a chest strap!
Bone and joint injuries are very common amongst avid hikers. With sometimes-treacherous trails, ankle and knee sprains are quite common due to falling on uneven surfaces or twisting a leg. Even broken bones and sprained wrists are a possibility if you aren’t careful! We’ve seen several people in the aftermath of falling while out for a leisurely hike that have suffered severe injuries! One way to help avoid this is to hike with poles. They can potentially break a fall and prevent any off-balance moment from deteriorating into something worse.
This is where massage comes in to play a key role. A post-hike massage can be a hiker’s best friend! Through applied pressure and muscle stimulation, massage can help mitigate both long-term and short-term effects of hiking and its related soreness and injuries. A deep tissue massage can help alleviate any knots, kinks, or muscle tension to promote quicker healing and thus relief for any stiffness leaving you prepared to head back outdoors! Not to mention that after getting off a dusty trail, massage is a great way to relax, and reflect upon a meaningful experience in nature.