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I’ve had hiking on the mind lately. Which means I’ve been blogging about hiking a lot as well. The hiking game in Florida is pretty much nonexistent. So when we’re in Florida during the offseason, I miss my adventure time spent getting my hike on. Since I’ve spent most of this summer in North Carolina and Wisconsin — two places great for hiking — I’ve been getting my fix!
Some of my hikes are just strolls through nature while other ones — like my most recent hike at Devil’s Lake — are more intense. A good hike can turn bad shortly after you finish if you don’t know how to recover properly. What kind of trusty cyber best friend would I be if I didn’t share everything you need to know about properly recovering from an adventurous hike?!
And it gets even better! I also going to be sharing my absolute favorite way to reward myself post-hike with Sheep Thrills® wine!
Hiking Recovery 101
I was a runner in high school (cross country and track) and I always did what I could to get out of doing cool down exercises. Shame on me! In my
know-it-all teen-age mind I already did my race or workout. I didn’t want to do more! Even if it was low intensity; I just wanted to be done.
The truth is, going from a high intensity activity straight to sitting or laying down is not good for the ‘ole bod; especially when your heart rate is pumping during a strenuous hike. Sitting down will cause the blood circulation to your legs to decrease, and make you susceptible to cramping and delayed muscle soreness. Take the time to bring your hike to an end slowly, decreasing your pace little by little over the course of 5-10 minutes.
This is important during your hike, but is also a super important part of recovery after your hike. I’m sure you will have worked up a sweat, so you need to replace those fluids that you’re sweating out. I like to drink water while I’m hiking, and then drink a combination of plain water and a sports drink, or even some chocolate milk afterwards. Sports drinks replenish your body with much needed electrolytes, and chocolate milk provides amino acids which aids in muscle recovery.
Give extra attention to any sore spots
If you’re feeling stiffness or soreness in one particular area give some extra attention to that spot. I usually grab my foam roller and try to roll out some of the stiffness, or head right to my hiking first aid kit and apply a topical muscle relief cream.
Eat a good meal
It is so tempting after a big exhausting hike to stuff your face with delicious deep-fried or fatty foods, but this is not the way to go! Your first meal after a big hike should be a balanced and heathy one that includes protein, carbohydrates, and fat. My go-to meal for hiking recovery is typically eggs, avocado toast, and a huge fruit smoothie.
Another thing my younger self thought was overrated: stretching! Stretching before physical activity is probably the most basic health instruction on the planet, but stretching after is also something I am a huge fan of. Stretching after your hike won’t necessarily ease sore muscles or reduce pain, but it will help to release the lactic acid that naturally builds up in your muscles during physical activity.
Rest is a huge part of successful hiking recovery. Don’t hike Half Dome one day, and then run a half marathon the next day. Your body needs time to recover, and your muscles need rest in order to properly repair themselves. Not taking the time to recover can prolong muscle soreness and fatigue, and even lead to long-term and severe injuries. I over did it once with some hiking and running in close succession and ended up with some achilles tendentious. It was brutal and I spent the next week and a half limping around. Lesson learned.
Relax (and reward yourself!)
Last but not least: Reward yourself! You’re a badass! Take a load off and be proud of what you have accomplished! I do this in a lot of ways: getting a pedicure or treating myself to a message, but my favorite way to treat myself after an adventurous day hiking is to relax with a friend and sip some wine.
When I heard of wine that was called Sheep Thrills® I was instantly intrigued for a number of reasons, and the more I got to know Sheep Thrills the more I loved what a fun and adventurous company they were!
First of all, I LOVE a good pun. Like, sometimes my sister and I will text back and fourth for several days speaking in only puns. Embarrassing, but true.
Second of all, the sheep that are pictured on the bottles are both named! How cool is that!? Considering I name every squirrel and raccoon I happen to see, I just about squealed out loud when I found out the sheep were named Marco and Paolo. Seriously, how cute!
What’s even better is that the Sheep Thrills® brand follows Marco and Paolo’s adventures around the world from their country side origins in Abruzzo, Italy, where the wine is from. What’s better than two adventurous, thrill seeking, Italian sheep who want to explore the world?!
I’m typically a white wine fan, so the Pinot Grigio is my go-to. I love the floral and tropical aromas of it, and how smooth and easy it goes down.
The Red Blend is a stunner too and has notes of cherry, plum, and spices. It’s definitely something I could see drinking along side a big ole plate of pasta with alfredo sauce.
After a busy day full of adventure, my favorite reward is getting into my comfiest clothes, and relaxing with a delicious glass of wine.
Now tell me…