By Michael Lanza

You just finished a big dayhike, backpacking trip, mountain climb, or trail run convinced it was one of the best experiences of your life—and now your body seems to have mounted a loud protest of pain against it. And you wonder: Is this suffering necessary? The simple answer is no. Follow the tips in this article—or even just some of them—to greatly lessen the physical aches and pains that sometimes follow an outdoors adventure.

This article shares the methods I’ve learned over four decades of dayhiking, backpacking, climbing mountains, ultra-hiking, trail running, cycling, and backcountry and Nordic skiing, including almost three decades writing about such adventures as a past field editor for Backpacker magazine and running this blog.

Short of suffering an injury, much of the aches and pains that sometimes follow any taxing physical activity result from entirely normal processes taking place within our bodies as muscle cells go through their usual healing and strengthening processes. But there are many ways to counter and minimize that pain with little to no effort or cost.

Please share your tips or questions in the comments section at the bottom of this story. I try to respond to all comments. Click on any photo to read about that trip.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

A hiker on her way up Thompson Peak, the highest in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains.
” data-image-caption=”My wife, Penny, hiking Thompson Peak (the summit in upper right of photo), the highest in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1″ width=”900″ height=”600″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?resize=900%2C600&ssl=1″ alt=”A hiker on her way up Thompson Peak, the highest in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains.” class=”wp-image-15944″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?resize=1080%2C720&ssl=1 1080w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?resize=200%2C133&ssl=1 200w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?resize=670%2C447&ssl=1 670w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_3441.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />My wife, Penny, hiking Thompson Peak (the summit in upper right of photo), the highest in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains.

1. Use the Right Gear

Poorly fitted boots or a pack will virtually guarantee to magnify your post-hike soreness in large muscles, your back and shoulders and possibly result in blistered or injured feet. Get a daypack or backpack and footwear that fit your body and are suited to your style of
Did you miss our previous article…
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