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Don't Regret the Hike:  Practical Tips for Releving Next-Day Aches and Pains

Don't Regret the Hike: Practical Tips for Releving Next-Day Aches and Pains

Don't Regret the Hike:  Practical Tips for Releving Next-Day Aches and Pains

By Carrie Busch

Reaching the top of the mountain is worth the climb, but you might not feel that way tomorrow. At least, that’s what happens to me when I conquer a particularly strenuous hike. And if you’re anything like me, almost 40 and struggling against both gravity and age, you might be tempted to choose Netflix over hiking. I’d encourage you to think again. 

Before you give up on the strenuous activity that you see advertised on Viagra commercials (whitewater rafting, cliff jumping, and all that), let me tell you a little bit about how I GET YOU. 

I mean, I wanted to get active, but I didn’t want to have to pay for it the next day. If you can relate, read on to hear about my little hiking issue and how I’ve come up with a four-step ritual for getting rid of aches and pains for good.

Hiking Through Utah’s National Parks

I recently moved from the east coast to Utah where there’s no shortage of stellar hikes. From Zion to Bryce Canyon to Snow Canyon to Sand Hollow, there’s always a ridiculously gorgeous view to search out (trust me… you don’t have to go far to find one). Just a quick tip: when your AllTrails app labels your upcoming hike “strenuous,” they really mean “strenuous.” 

Every weekend since last July, we’ve found ourselves packing up the fam and heading to some obscure place that we found on Google. Armed with granola bars or bags of popped popcorn, my husband, kids, and I ventured out into the great unknown not fully knowing what we were getting ourselves into. It’s been quite the challenge for me -- one who prefers sitting on the beach or playing board games in a cabin to outdoor activity.

Reaching the Peak

A couple of weeks ago, though, my family joined some friends on a hike through Snow Canyon State Park in Southern Utah. The desert terrain was gorgeous even in its emptiness, and the brush was every blue-green hue you could imagine, all set against a backdrop of red rocks and sand dunes. 

But I couldn’t enjoy it for long because everyone else in the group, daredevils as they are, were beckoning me to climb. What was probably a mound to them was definitely an ominous mountain to me. Peer pressure got me to just go ahead and do it, but not without my pulse racing and my hands sweating virtually the entire time. After all, I’m not really used to doing this sort of thing.

Eventually, I got to the very top (wobbly knees and all) amidst everyone’s laughing and cheering. I wanted no high-fives because I was scared the slightest tap would send me plummeting to my death. Note: My two sons had absolutely ZERO fear as they celebrated on a rock perched sideways at the very top. One almost-heart attack later, I found myself looking out over a breathtaking canyon.

And let me tell you… the view was SPECTACULAR. I could see all the way to Zion National Park (which was miles and miles away), and I was so high up that the sagebrush melted into each other forming what looked like grass. I didn’t regret the climb because of that view.

The Next Morning

But what I did regret was not getting into better shape before I hiked that hike. You probably can relate. Aching hips, aching knees, aching ankles… aching everything. No one wants to hear you complain because you did it to yourself. That means lots of pain and no sympathy.

That’s pretty much where I find myself every time I hike. So you would think that it wouldn’t have taken me so long to learn that I need to take precautions if I’m going to become the hiker that I envision. So, that leads me to the ritual I’ve concocted so that I don’t pull anything while I’m hiking and, more importantly, so that I’m not in old-lady pain after every trip:

  1. Not neglecting “Leg Day” at the gym when my friends extend the invite.
  2. Spending more time doing “Yoga with Adrienne” on Youtube (at least 1-3 times a week).
  3. Preparing for my hike with Hemp-Ness gummies (and making sure I don’t forget to take them post-hike as well).
  4. Taking the post-hike bath that my body and sanity need.

I like to keep things natural, so notice that I didn’t tell you that I pop a few Ibuprofen when I get a pain (I’ve thought about it though). That’s because I’ve found a method that works, and it doesn’t require me to slather chemicals onto my skin or ingest things I’ve never even heard of for the sake of pain relief. Plus, I get better results from natural remedies like Hemp-Ness gummies and consistent exercise than I ever get with pills. 

Another plus: this ritual isn’t a band-aid. Every time I hike, and every time I follow my four-step plan, I get healthier and happier than I was before, and with each new hike, there’s less and less aching and more and more sleeping soundly. After all, I am still a mom and I like my sleep.

Next Stop: Yosemite National Park 

This coming April, we’re headed to Yosemite National Park. The pop-up camper will be my only solace after a long day of hiking. This means that I’m going to have to figure out how to alter my four-step ritual for the road. Leg Day? Climbing counts. Yoga? I can stream Adrienne in the woods with my hotspot. Hemp-Ness Gummies? Luckily, they can go everywhere with me because I’m going to need them. No doubt. Post-hike bath? I’ve already Googled the nearest hot spring and it’s a manageable drive. I’m glad I’ve got this worked out. I hope you can do the same for your own hiking aches and pains. Maybe I’ll see you on the trail to the top!