This past Sunday, a group of us decided that we needed to get out and get some fun exercise in. So we bundled up, heading up toward Mount Hood, grabbed some snowshoes, and hit a snowy trail. Talk about a great way to enjoy the winter months outside, with minimum cost and little experience required! I love getting outside whenever I can, and especially to go on trails and hikes. The fresh air, the beautiful scenery, and the nice workout that you get from it all, is great for the mind, body, and soul.
Also, did I mention what a great workout it is? Take your normal hiking trails, add snow and snowshoes, and you just amplified your intensity level. Phew! Now, all four of us live pretty active lifestyles, but boy did we all feel the 4 hour trek that we did! We all had our hip flexors and calves talking to us by the time we got back to our car and even the following day.
Now I have been really good about doing my morning stretches just about every day for just over a year now. My routine only takes me about 20 minutes to do, with a puppy climbing all over me to play and give me kisses. I know the great benefits to stretching and warming up your body, but we all fell prey to the weekend warrior mentality on Sunday. We did not properly stretch and warm up our muscles when we first got up to the mountain. I knew better, but got caught up in the excitement to start our hike over to the trailhead to start our snowshoeing adventure. As a result, we all felt our sore muscles more than we probably should have felt them.
Being a weekend warrior is not a bad thing. However, you need to properly take care of yourself before, during, and after your adventure. Trust me when I tell you that your body will thank you. Here are some tips that I have found to be helpful in making the most of your adventures and post adventure.
With spring just around the corner, getting outside and being more active is sure to follow. I know that I am looking forward to hiking more trails and discovering more waterfalls this spring and summer. Don’t let the outside activities and adventures leave your body so sore that you can’t enjoy the weekend. Take the time to take care of your body and properly stretch, hydrate, and fuel your body before, during, and after your fun filled day! Remember, getting outside and exercising should be fun, not painful.
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.