Useful hiking tips for active seniors

By Stef Zisovska
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Useful hiking tips for active seniors

Stef Zisovska
 
Senior hiker
Senior hiker
 
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Hiking is the best outdoor activity for people from any generation. There are many out there that don’t like to accept it, but the fact is hiking rules. Also, there are many health benefits to be had if you practice it once a week. There is no need to mention that spending time in the wilderness and walking alongside fields, streams, and rivers is especially useful for active seniors who like to stay fit and keep themselves in a good and healthy condition. Why take dozens of pills and feel sick much of the time when you can resolve many physical issues for free while enjoying nature at the same time. Here are some useful hiking tips for elderly people who refuse to give up!

Hike safely

Active seniors
Active seniors

Before heading to your first hiking trail, consult your doctor about it and check for any ailments that might need to be addressed. As an active senior, it’s always better to go hiking early in the morning or in the afternoon when the temperatures are not too high and won’t affect your blood pressure. If you want to go alone, don’t forget to let your family or your neighbor know where it is that you’re going and when you expect to be back. Take plenty of water (at least 2 liters), protein bars, nuts, a safety whistle in case you get lost, a rain jacket (bright colors preferred), a cell phone (if you’re planning to hike near the city), first-aid kit, and an extra pair of socks.

Dress appropriately

Don’t try to be fancy or wear jeans on the trail. Hiking is an outdoor activity that requires a lot of effort and sweating, so go for working out clothes if possible. Dress in layers that can be stripped off. As for your feet, always wear sturdy tennis shoes if the terrain is not too demanding. Otherwise, good old hiking boots are what you need to have at home just in case you decide to climb a difficult route.

Stretch before you start walking

Always do some basic warm-up stretching exercises that will help your muscles prepare for the challenge. There are trails that may seem to be easy for you and you think no warm-up is needed, but that’s not the reality. No matter how old you are, you need to stretch all your muscles before starting any ascent, even the lowest hill in the world.

Hike at your own pace

Walk at your own pace
Walk at your own pace

Hiking is not racing, and there is absolutely no need for you to compete with anyone else from your group. The point of it is not who will finish the loop first, but who will enjoy it the most. So, don’t push yourself to do something that your body doesn’t like, but hike at your own pace. If you run into obstacles that you don’t feel ready for, just slow down, think twice, and if necessary go back and ask for help. Why force your body to do something that doesn’t suit it?

Start with short hikes

If you are a senior and you’ve never hiked before, no problem, as it’s never too late. What you need to be aware of is your watch. When starting out, try doing 30-minute to 1-hour hikes and see how you feel afterward. Do this twice a week and if you feel you’re gaining more strength, start adding 15 more minutes to each hike.

Try hiking poles or a walking stick

If you have problems with your balance, there is no reason for you to not be spending time in nature. Be brave, get hiking poles and go out there to conquer the beautiful landscapes that surround you. Hold your stick or poles so that your elbows are at a comfortable 90-degree angle.

Stay safe and good luck!

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