5 Best Stretches to Do After Your Hike 

Post-hike stretches offer great benefits. (Photo via Pexels/Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav)
Post-hike stretches offer great benefits. (Photo via Pexels/Guduru Ajay bhargav)

Do you stretch your body after hikes? If not, you are making a huge mistake. Post-hike stretches are extremely important to avoid stiff and sore muscles you may experience the next day.

Stretching helps shorten recovery time, enhances flexibility, reduces chances of injury, alleviates pain and aches, and improves sleep quality while also allowing you to attain the amazing benefits hiking offers.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best stretching exercises you must do after your hike:

Important Post-hike Stretches

There are plenty of stretches you can do after a hike to stretch your body muscles, including the hamstrings, calves, chest, quads, and so on.

Mentioned below are the five most important ones that are easy to perform yet very effective for the muscles. They can be done almost anywhere – at home, end of your trail, park, outdoors, etc. So, let's get started:

1) Quadriceps Stretch

The quads stretch is a great post-hike stretch that helps relieve pain and tightness in the quads and improves flexibility.

To do it:

  • Stand tall on your left leg, and bring your right heel back. Hold your ankle with your right hand, and make sure to keep your knees aligned.
  • Push your hips forward, but do not bend your knees.
  • Hold this stretch for a few seconds till you feel a gentle stretch in your quads.
  • Lower your leg, and repeat on your opposite side.

2) Shoulder Roll

Stretching your shoulders after hiking is very important, and shoulder rolls are an amazing way to reduce shoulder soreness and tension.

To do it:

  • Stand straight, with your shoulders down and knees relaxed.
  • Roll your shoulders back and forth 20 times (ten times forward and ten times back).
  • Alternatively, may also place both hands on your shoulders and use your elbows, drawing big circles in a back-and-forth direction about 20 times.
  • Release your hands. Relax, and repeat the stretching exercise.

3) Hip Stretch

Stretching your hips post-hiking helps improve balance, ease hip pain and also reduce hip tightness. If the standing hip stretch is too challenging for you, try sitting down on a chair or bench to do this stretch.

To do a hip stretch:

  • Stand tall, keeping your hands on your sides, or hold on to a solid surface.
  • Raise your left ankle, and cross it over the top of your right knee.
  • Gently push your hips back, keeping your spine straight and chest up as you bend forward to touch the floor in front of you.
  • Hold this position for a count of 30, and return back up.
  • Switch sides, and perform the stretch with your other leg.

4) Calf Stretch

The calf stretch is another very effective post-hike stretch that helps reduce muscle soreness and tiredness.

To do it:

  • Lean on a sturdy surface, such as a bench or tree. Keep your hands on the surface, and position your feet in a walking stance.
  • With your toes towards the tree, lean your body towards your front leg while keeping your heels perfectly grounded on the floor.
  • You should feel a gentle stretch in the calf of your back leg.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 counts before switching legs and repeating.

5) Chest Stretch

Stretching the chest helps with blood circulation and also reduces upper body pain and tiredness.

To do it:

  • Stand tall, and bring your hands back together.
  • Slowly start to push your chest out while pulling your hands back straight at the same time. Hold the position, and take some easy breaths.
  • Relax your hands, and bring your chest to the starting position.
  • Keeping your abs engaged and knees unlocked, bend your upper body forward and down.
  • As you bring your body forward, pull both arms straight up, and try to reach your chin towards your chest.
  • Take deep breaths, and count to 10.
  • Come up to the standing position slowly, and unhook your arms.
  • Repeat, if needed.

Bottom Line

So, these are some of the best stretches you should perform after your hike. While these stretching exercises are simple and productive, do not overdo them. If you feel pain or any type of discomfort, seek professional help immediately.

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Edited by Bhargav