Camp Self Care Routine For Hikers
In this camp self care routine for hikers, I’ll give you some quick ways to find relief after a long day on the trail. The best part is, you’ll be using items that you have handy to massage, stretch, and rejuvenate your body. Self care is critical to manage aches and pains as well as keep you happy and healthy. This camp self care routine for hikers is from my more comprehensive self care program.
Start with the feet
I like to start with the feet. The first thing I do is the toe animator. Simply weave your fingers in-between your toes (yes, they fit!) and feel the relief. In this position, you may enjoy bending the toes up and down or making a circular motion. Try moving your hand with using other motions and find what you like best. This technique is a great way to help relax the feet after a pounding out miles on the trail.
Next up is the stone massage. Look around for any stone that is easy to hold in your hand; it can be smooth or rough. With this stone, use it as a massage aid for the bottom of the foot and heel areas. This massage feels particularly pleasing around the base of the toes and pulling toward the heel over the fat pad. Simply divine, and your feel will feel like a million bucks when done!
On to the lower leg
Using a ball like the Rawlogy cork ball, you can dig right into that hard working deep calf muscle, the soleus. Simply apply a “hurts good” pressure while rolling the ball up and down next to the shin bone. You can make this technique more effective by moving the foot up and down as you use the ball. This massage will be uncomfortable, which should tell you everything you need to know about why we spend time here!
No camp self care routine for hikers would be complete without massaging the calf. Incredibly simple and practical, this method will help out the hard working calf muscles. Grab your trekking pole and glide it along your calf muscle to restore this powerful muscle. Make sure to work the inside and outside of the calf for the best results. Don’t forget to change your lower leg angle as you glide through the muscle 🙂
Upper Back Magic
Moving up in the camp self care routine for hikers, let’s target the mid back and shoulders next.
That upper back is bound to be feeling a little rough after covering trail miles shouldering a pack. Using your Rawlogy ball, one or two works here, we’ll target the space between the shoulder blades. With the ball(s) placed in the space between your spine and your shoulder blades, place them at the top of the shoulder blades. Begin by moving your arms in a hugging motion. Next, reach overhead and finish with a snow angel motion.
To reposition, simply slide upwards, which will move the balls downward. Aim for the middle of the shoulder blades. Repeat the above sequence. Finally, roll upwards again to move the balls to the bottom of the shoulder blades. Again, repeat the sequence above.
We move on the muscle on the top of the shoulder blade next. Place one ball on the top inside edge of the shoulder blade. Here, we will perform similar actions as we did for the upper back. So moving your arms overhead, across your body, and in a snow angel motion. The pressure should “hurt good.” Reposition as needed.
The hips don’t lie!
Hiking does only use a small range of motion for the hip joints. To stretch things out, lay on your back and cross one leg in a figure 4 position. From here, you can press your crossed leg knee away from you for a more intense stretch. To add some variety, grab the non-crossed leg and pull it toward your chest. Feel the stretch deeper in the hips with the variation.
Returning to the figure 4 crossed leg position, now, simply rock side to side and enjoy the stretch to your hip muscles. You can linger in the stretch positions here as you see fit.
One other feel good stretch is the single or double knee to chest stretch. Simply hug that knee towards your chest and hold. The non-stretch leg can be straight or bent, which ever feels position feels best is fine and won’t change the stretch target.
One last stretch to rule them all
Finish this routine with the heel sit. Heel sits are a wonderful stretch for the lower legs, ankles, and knees. It’s as simple as it sounds; kneeling, you’ll aim to place your butt right on top of your heels and sit. This stretch will target the shin muscles and feels amazing for your ankles.
I top everything off with some compression sleeves for my calf muscles. Whether they work or not to help recover is still being debated by science. I feel that they helped me stay on top of my self care, and they only weigh a few ounces. As a bonus, they provided just enough extra warmth that on cold mornings I would keep them on until the temperatures rose.
Learn more about my comprehensive self care program here. This full program will give you more tips, techniques, stretches, and exercises to improve your enjoyment while hiking.