I believe that hiking is a way to recharge, to experience our raw earth, and to unwind from the fast-paced world we live in today. This being said, there is no denying that it can be exhausting and draining, wearing in a rewarding way. Being in the natural elements can rough us up in a way that can make a hot shower feel like a baptism, and taking time to treat your body after exercising is one of the most gratifying components of retiring home after the entire venture.
Recovery after a hike is arguably just as important as the preparation before, so I compiled a few of my favorite things to do that help me wind down and decompress after a day on the trail.
This is a practice, that as many of us know, you cannot stop once you’ve discovered its glory. Stretching before hiking or climbing is something that I have added to my pre and post-hike routine, and has helped both my performance on the trail and minimize muscle strain. Practicing yoga to wind down after a hike can help relieve what’s known as the “hiker hobble”, that stiffness and soreness that makes you feel like a senior citizen. REI agrees that pre and post stretching leads to a quicker recovery time- they recommend timing your stretches to be sure you don’t rush through them. One of my favorite elements of stretching out after hiking is that it also helps to naturally transition back into reality after so much stimulation in the outdoors, a mental “cool down” if you will.
As someone who doesn’t like taking pain killers of any kind, CBD is a natural alternative that can help relieve soreness or joint pain. The three-letter acronym is short for cannabidiol, which is in the hemp plant. There are many assumptions about CBD and its relation to hemp, but contrary to popular belief, it does not make you feel high and is not addictive in any sense. This friendly ingredient supports your everyday wellbeing by interacting with your endocannabinoid system to reduce stress and pain.
Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids to stabilize communication between cells. Introducing CBD to your post-hike routine just helps you put even more of this good stuff into your body- like taking a vitamin. The way I prefer to do this is with Pollen gummies. These vegan, small batch CBD gummies are a modern and approachable way to try out CBD for yourself. Being an every day self-reflection enthusiast who considers how supplements might affect my headspace, I appreciate that Pollen holds the same values. Every single order comes with a free journal so you can monitor your thoughts over a month and reflect on how the gummies might have helped your mood. Try them out for yourself at withpollen.com.
Take a Bath
The healing powers of epsom salt stirred into a warm bath after a hike can smooth the skin and help relieve a sore body. One of my go-to products for dunking in the tub is Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soak, which comes in over 15 customized-varieties including ones developed for needs like muscle recovery and post-workout. I even find myself both on days on the trail and in the office saying something along the lines of, “I can’t wait for my appointment with Dr. Teal tonight.”
Try complimenting your epsom salt bath with a fresh piece of fruit. Baths should stimulate every sense, and as a self-proclaimed connoisseur, trust me, picking a light snack that pairs well with your bath makes it even better.
Getting outside is a way to restore- a way to deepen our understanding of ourselves and the natural world around us, and the relaxation that follows is one of the most rewarding components of the entire experience. I hope that you try implementing one of these ideas into your post-hike routine, one that helps elevate that indescribable, fulfilling feeling that makes us yearn for another adventure every time.