Massage and Recovery for Hikers
Elements Massage Ken Caryl Jun 15, 2015
Colorado is home to many beautiful trails and outdoor activities. For those that like to get out and enjoy Mother Nature, spring and summer are great seasons to spend time outside.
When it comes to hiking, several of our local trails require a bit of physical fitness and this form of exercise can leave you feeling more stiff or sore than a normal workout routine.
Several common issues that arise after a hike, especially a trail that includes a bit of elevation, include problems with the feet, neck and shoulders, joints, and muscle fatigue. Here’s a bit more information on each:
Before you hit the trail, it’s important to ensure that your shoes fit properly to avoid any serious damage. This means that you should pay special attention to the toe area, as you’ll want enough room to accommodate steep ascents and descents without your toes running into the front of your shoes. While on the trail, the uneven terrain and rocky surfaces contribute to different impact and pressure than your feet are used to and this is what can make your heels, arches, and toes feel sore after a day of hiking.
Neck and Shoulder Stiffness
Whether due to carrying a back or just scrambling over rocks and walking along the trail, most individual’s posture forces a certain amount of tension to be carried in the upper back, shoulder, and neck area that results in stiffness after hiking. When combined with looking at the ground, as it is very important to watch where you step and see where you are going, a long day of hiking can leave your muscles achy and tired. One way to help during your activity is to take breaks, roll your neck out, and don’t forget to enjoy the scenery!
With the heel to toe striking action, your ankles and knees bear a brunt of the burden when it comes to your body weight. Combined movement and gravity along with the uneven surface can lead to stiffness and soreness in your joints.
Just like with other forms of exercise, hiking taxes your muscles. From use and strain, your leg muscles, specifically your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps work hard to keep you moving and this can result in tension and knots in your muscles after you complete your activity.
Treatment for Recovery
After a long and rewarding day on the trail, a massage is an excellent way to promote your body’s natural healing abilities while addressing the common issues that can result from hiking. A massage therapist can aid in facilitating a quicker recovery with a boost to your blood flow to allow your muscles to process toxins that result from exercising while also bringing oxygen and nutrients for a speedy recovery.