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You're Never Too Old to Take a Hike

By Sara Butler

Hiking is one of the most beneficial activities out there and despite what some people believe to be true, you’re never too old to start. The American Geriatrics Society has stated that people over 65 who walk four hours or more per week have a reduced risk of heart disease. Throw that in with the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend older adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week and you’ve got a recipe for taking up hiking. Of course, there are a few things the older crowds need to take into consideration. Here are a few things to help you take the first step!

What You Need

If you’re going to take up hiking, then you need a few essentials to get started. You should have:

  • Good footwear - You need comfortable, durable, and lightweight hiking shoes that will keep moisture from building up. Keeping your feet dry during a hike is incredibly important.
  • Poles - Hiking poles are a must for seniors who want to get started. They help ease the strain all that walking puts on your knees and back. Buy a good pair of trekking poles and learn how to use them.
  • Hip pack - You can easily carry the things you need for your hikes such as snacks, water, and first aid items in a comfortable hip pack.
  • Hat - A broad-rimmed hat will be a great hiking companion. Sun protection is important no matter how old you are.

Goals

You can’t just jump right in and expect to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail. You should create goals for yourself that are realistic and are best suited to the capabilities of your body. The key is to find a balance between activity and challenge. Start out with easy trails and work your way up.

Safety

For seniors, it’s important to remember to:

  • Get medical clearance - Make sure you’re healthy enough to start a new exercise program.
  • Take heat into consideration - Stick to morning or evening hikes and stay off the trail when it’s really hot out. Just don’t start so late that you run the risk of getting caught out in the dark and have difficulty seeing.
  • Get a buddy - You should make sure to hike with a friend. If you go alone, always let someone know where you’ll be.
  • Stretch - Just as with any other exercise, stretching is important before and after.
  • Stay hydrated - Take plenty of water and snacks with you.
  • Plan for an emergency - Have a phone with you and consider getting a safety whistle and first aid kit.

You can take up hiking any time! So get out and enjoy the world around you as you increase your fitness and longevity!  

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fontana, Calif.

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