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Hitting the Desert Trails: Massage for the Hikers

Elements Massage Paradise Valley Apr 8, 2014

With the desert cacti blooming and the birds and wildlife out and about, there’s no better place to get outside for a hike than Arizona in the springtime. The weather is perfect, with crisp air and bright sunshine and there are plenty of well-maintained trails to explore on your own or with a friend. But be forewarned, hiking can be a demanding activity and if you are unfamiliar with the trail, it’s best to go prepared for a rigorous outing of switchbacks and sudden elevation climbs. These trail surprises can really give your muscles a workout and then some. To help you better prepare for what’s in store, here are a few of the most common problem areas for hikers after an outing:

Hiker’s Feet

Your feet take an obvious beating during any activity but hiking places extra pressure on your feet and ankles since the terrain you are traversing is usually uneven and rocky. During steep ascents or descents, it’s possible to put extreme pressure on both your heels and toes that leads to severe stiffness post-hike. It’s important to wear proper footwear, bring a change of socks, and don’t forget to pack bandages in case of blisters to ensure a positive outdoor experience.

Neck/Shoulder Fatigue

Depending upon whether you are carrying a pack full of camping gear, a light day bag, or a fanny pack filled with water and a first aid kit, whenever you include additional weight, you put your body under stress. When hiking, this is often your neck and back muscles. Be sure to fit your pack snug when hiking and take if off to stretch during rest breaks.

Joint and Bone Injuries

If hiking on treacherous trails, injuries like turning an ankle or spraining a knee are possible due to the uneven surfaces. To help stabilize your core while hiking, you can use hiking poles or a walking stick. These are helpful if you do trip, instead of falling face first, you can catch yourself with the poles to avoid a messy injury. 

Muscle Aches

When hiking, certain trails can take you through multiple series of ups and downs, and this affects your muscles. Acute pressure on calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps are sure to leave you feeling sore post-hike.

Hiking is a strenuous activity to say the least, even if you are surrounded in outdoor beauty. One way to mitigate the effects of hiking on your body is to seek out regular massage treatments. Whether it’s deep tissue, Swedish massage, or another modality, massage is a great way to promote healing in your body. Plus it helps you relax after all of that hard work. 

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