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Beat the Berg – Remember to Stretch When Hiking in Germany

After a long day’s hiking in Germany, many people turn to creams to help their muscles recover – but that is not always the best idea, experts say.

The effects of the so-called “active” substances in these creams have not been proven, says Christine Merkel, a spokeswoman for the Deutscher Wanderverband or German Hiking Association.

“Prevention based on muscle training is always better than aftercare,” adds Julian Brock of the Association of Independent Physiotherapists.

Before a hike, you should ideally warm up for 15 minutes. You should also avoid fast speeds and steep slopes at the start of the hike: straining cold muscles can cause injuries.

And what do experts recommend when your legs start to feel heavy during a hike? The answer is simple: stretching and loosening exercises for the whole body.

Taking small breaks can aid muscle regeneration and, when in doubt, you should reduce your pace. It is usually fitness and joints that that cause trouble. If you feel a sharp pain in your muscles, you should always put an end to your hike. You should always stick to routes appropriate for your fitness level. “Someone without proper training should not attempt a 20-kilometre mountain hike,” Merkel warns.

Proper footwear with ankle support and enough food and water will also help prevent muscle problems.

Once the hike is over, stretching will help prevent soreness the following day. – Berlin (dpa)

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