So, it’s Monday morning, you’ve spent all weekend in the mountains, hiking, skiing, climbing. You wake up and you can barely move. You’re stuck in bed because your muscles are so sore from the weekend. If that’s the case, you need to learn a couple of things about recovery!
In this blog post I give you 5 recovery tips for sore muscles after hiking. By the end you will have a checklist of things to implement so you can start recovering better, faster, and get back out into the mountains, doing what you love.
You can watch the video here or keep reading below!
Image of what my chest looks like when I’m breathing deeply into my ribs.
You’ll see my rib cage expanding outwards, and then squeezing and contracting the ribs as you exhale (perhaps watch the video for this!). It’s important that when we breathe deeply, we don’t breathe into the belly or to the upper chest, we breathe into the ribs. And the ribs will expand outwards if we’re breathing with the diaphragm.
Take four seconds to breathe in, and immediately, take eight seconds to breathe out. This is a really good way to naturally relax the body and to switch us over into the parasympathetic nervous system.
That is your four eight ratio. I learnt this from Lucas Rockwood. He has a great TED Talk and two other breathing techniques you should check out. Much like warming up and cooling down, being able to relax and breathe deeply, and tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, is another one of those precursors to a good recovery.
You can get your sleep, your nutrition, your hydration, and everything else dialled in. But if you’re not able to get out of that fight or flight response, and into rest and digest, then you’re simply not going to be optimising your recovery, and getting the most out of your training and your activities. At the same time, you could be spending all of your energy on cardiovascular training and training the musculoskeletal system to be fit and strong, forgetting that you also have a respiratory system that also needs to be trained and optimised as well. You can do that through breathing.
In summary, to help your recovery you want to warm up and cool down properly and breathe into the parasympathetic nervous system, to rest and digest. Avoid static stretching, and go, instead, for dynamic mobility drills. Drink loads of water and get into self myofascial release and massage.