Hiking For Elderly – Lead A Happier, Healthier Life
Over the years, we’ve met some extraordinary travellers who, despite suffering from cardio vascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, and back pain, couldn’t resist the allure of Bhutan’s high altitude monasteries, Ladakh’s far-flung villages, Manali’s snow-capped mountain range, or the spectacular scenery of the Mulayangiri Hills, and took on the challenge of hiking rough, uneven terrain for 2-6 hours while travelling with the 50+ Voy
If you think hiking is too difficult or complicated for your age and health, you might be surprised to learn that hiking is simply going outside in nature.
You can trek if you can walk. Hiking is a low-impact sport that provides various health benefits to the elderly, who require four forms of exercise: endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Hiking incorporates all four types of exercise by improving heart health, reducing muscle atrophy, maintaining body flexibility, and increasing balance while preventing falls. Let me explain some of the advantages of hiking in further detail, as well as some anecdotes from 50+ Voyagers Travel and Adventure Club members who have become hikers.
Tips for Beginner Level Elderly or Sr. Citizen Hikers
1. Start small – A short, local hike for 2-4 km is good to start with. Gradually work up to longer trails of 8-12 km on hills or uneven terrain.
2. Carry a backpack – Even for a short hikes carry water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, safety whistle and at least a small first aid kit. Consider light but energy-packed snack like a protein bar, nuts and dark chocholate. Seniors are particularly susceptible to dehydration, therefore ensure you drink enough water.
3. Hiking pole and shoe – Pole reduces the impact of hiking on knee joints and leg muscles, especially when going downhill. Furthermore, while walking on level ground, poles reduce the body weight carried by the legs by approximately 5 kg every step. Buy shock absorption pole if you have weak or damaged ankles, knees or hips. Wear comfortable shoe with spikes. Avoid wearing new shoes which causes blisters and discomfort.
4. Bring a buddy or guide – Don’t hike solo as a beginner. Travel with a like-minded friend, hiking group or a guide who knows the trail well. Keep your family informed on where you are going and when you are expected to return.
5. Know before you go – Check local weather – dress and pack raincoat/hat etc. accordingly. Keep a trail map handy. Best time for hiking is early morning and late afternoon.