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Hit the Trails: A Guide to Hiking for Active Adults

As a physical therapist specializing in helping active adults get back to doing what they love, I often find myself discussing hiking. It's not just a hobby; it's a passion for many of my clients. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just getting started, hitting the trails offers numerous benefits for physical and mental well-being. In this blog post, we'll explore everything from post-hike stretching routines to favorite hiking destinations in northeastern Wisconsin.

The Benefits of Hiking

Hiking is more than just a form of exercise; it's a journey through nature that provides countless benefits. From improving cardiovascular health and strengthening muscles to reducing stress and boosting mood, hiking offers a holistic approach to fitness and wellness.

Post-Hike Stretch Routine

To prevent common hiking-related injuries such as Achilles tendinopathy, hip pain or stiffness, lower back pain, knee pain, and neck pain from looking down, it's essential to incorporate a post-hike stretch routine. Here's a simple routine to help you recover and stay injury-free:

Calf Stretch

Stand facing a wall with one foot forward and one foot back. Lean forward, keeping your back leg straight until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on one knee with the other foot flat on the ground in front of you. Lean forward, stretching the hip of the kneeling leg. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Sit on a chair with one leg straight in front of you. Keep your spine straight and shift forward onto your butt bones. Create an inward curve of your lower back while you lean forward. Feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Child's Pose

Start on your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels, reaching your arms forward on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, focusing on deep breathing and relaxation.

Chest Stretch

Clasp your hands behind your back and roll your shoulders back. Stand tall and take 3-5 deep breaths, feeling a stretch across the chest.

Favorite Hiking Shoes

When it comes to hiking, having the right footwear is crucial for comfort and support. Some of my favorite hiking shoe brands include Oboz, Topo Athletic, and Lems. These brands offer a combination of durability, traction, and comfort to keep your feet happy on the trails.

Top 5 Hiking Destinations in Northeastern Wisconsin

Ice Age Trail

Explore the breathtaking landscapes and geological wonders of Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail. Stretching over 1,200 miles, this trail offers a variety of terrains and scenic vistas, perfect for hikers of all skill levels.

Kohler Andrae State Park

Discover sandy beaches, rolling dunes, and picturesque trails at Kohler Andrae State Park, located along the shores of Lake Michigan. With over 1,000 acres to explore, this park offers endless opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing.

Peninsula State Park

Explore scenic trails winding through forests, bluffs, and shoreline along the scenic Door Peninsula. With over 2,000 acres of natural beauty, Peninsula State Park is a hiker's paradise.

Point Beach State Park

At Point Beach State Park, situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, you can enjoy miles of pristine beaches, towering sand dunes, and lush forests. Hike along scenic trails and discover the park's diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife.

High Cliff State Park

Located on the shores of Lake Winnebago, High Cliff State Park offers panoramic views, rugged cliffs, and scenic trails through forests and prairies. Explore the park's natural beauty and geological wonders on a memorable hiking adventure.

Whether you're exploring the Ice Age Trail or hiking along the shores of Lake Michigan, northeastern Wisconsin offers a wealth of outdoor adventures for hikers of all ages and abilities. So, lace up your hiking shoes, hit the trails, and experience the beauty of nature firsthand!


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