Hiking Is For All Ages Including Baby Boomers
Hiking is for everyone, not just young people. Many Baby Boomers are now at the age where they will be retiring soon or have already retired. Many of them are choosing to have an active lifestyle well into their retirement years.
Hiking And Camping Are Excellent Ways To Stay Healthy And Fit
As we age, we are likely to develop some potential health issues. That is not abnormal, but that does not mean we have sit home and give up activities we love.
We may just need to take additional precautions that we would not have had to take when we were younger.
If you are over the age of 50 & haven’t been hiking regularly all along, you should consult your doctor to make sure you are able to start hiking safely.
If you or any of your family members have experienced heart disease or any heart related issues, your doctor may want you to pass a cardiac stress test before taking up hiking again.
Based on other medical issues you may have had in the past or currently have, your doctor may give you pointers on what you can do to limit any negative reactions to your new, or renewed, hobby of hiking.
Just because you were a regular hiker years ago, that does not mean you are currently ready to embark on such a strenuous activity. You may be ready, but it is always good to check with your doctor first.
Of course, if you are older and have never hiked in the past, by all means, consult with your doctor before taking up this new hobby.
After your doctor has cleared you for hiking, there are some preparations & precautions that you can take that will be helpful.
While these preparations & precautions are, for purposes of this article, for older hikers, please know that everyone, of any age, can benefit from them.
- To prevent osteoporosis and to maintain bone density, you can start by eating spinach, kale, broccoli and other green, leafy vegetables. Dairy products will provide a good source of Vitamin D and Calcium.
- To avoid joint pain & stiffness, a practice of walking regularly, doing weight training and swimming will help. It is crucial to keep your joints in motion.
- It will be hard and potentially dangerous to hike if you have a weak heart. Fish, nuts and vegetables that have omega-3 fatty acids can strengthen your heart.
- If your legs, quads & hamstrings are not strong, you will need to strengthen them before you start hiking. You do not want to get out on the trail & then not have to the leg strength to make it back. By doing leg exercises and climbing stairs, you can strengthen, and then maintain, strong legs, quads and hamstrings.
As we get older, we may find river crossings and steps harder to maneuver than they were when we were younger. Below, are some strategies that will make it easier to continue hiking as we get older.
- Acquire lighter gear and remove any extraneous items from your backpack.
- In order to prevent fatigue and injuries, take breaks as often you feel you need to. You should use a slow, steady pace. If that means a pace of one mile per hour, then so be it. You get to make all of the rules.
- Using thicker insoles and well padded socks will cushion your feet.
- When going uphill or downhill, use your trekking poles. They will help to protect your knees.
- Rather than packing a tent, you can stay in a lean-to or a cabin.
More and more we are seeing older hikers out on the trail. Many of them have taken the precautions listed above.
Of course, sometimes unexpected situations can occur while on a hike. If you see a baby boomer or anyone, of any age, who could benefit from your help, please lend them a hand.
This why hikers are the best!
To read another interesting article from The Joy of Hiking, please click on the link below.