Hiking is a great outdoor activity for senior citizens. Your age should not stop you from going outdoors and spending time in the wilderness. We all need to get out once in a while and engage in an activity that’s not too hard on our bodies. Going on a hike can help seniors keep their body fit without putting too much stress. But senior hikers have a harder time moving around than their younger counterparts. So, to ensure a safe and injury-free experience on the trail, senior hikers must factor in a couple of things before heading outdoors.
Here are 7 useful hiking tips for seniors to keep in mind.
1. Consult Your Doctor Before Leaving
Your safety should be a top priority whenever you’re planning a hike. Therefore, you should never head outdoors without first consulting with your doctor. It’s absolutely necessary to visit your doctor and check for ailments that may stop you from enjoying a hike outdoors. Even if you are an active senior, there are plenty of health risks you need to look out for. We advise pressing the pause button on your hiking trip until you are fit enough to take on short hikes without getting too much stressed physically. But once you get cleared by your doctor, all you’ve to do is pack up and hit the trails.
2. Bring Essential Gears
It’s risky to go hiking if you don’t have the essentials. A fully stocked first aid kit should be one of the first thing you pack. Be sure to pack weather-ready clothing, water bottle, food & water supplies, bug spray, hiking boots, sunscreen, toiletry kit, map, headlamp, and a quick-dry towel. It’s also important to stay organized. So, avoid overstuffing and pack in only the essentials. Keep things to their basic elements. This way you won’t hurt your back. Most items used for hiking are minimal so that extra stuff you decide to bring will only become another piece of luggage to drag along.
3. Dress Appropriately
Don’t try to be fancy or wear jeans on the trail. What you choose to wear can make or break your hiking experience. The weather and outside temperature will change multiple times during your hiking trip. So, you need to be dressed up adequately to cope with these changes. Always choose something durable, breathable, and light. And don’t try to bring your entire wardrobe. We suggest packing in some t-shirts, shorts, jeans/pants, socks, underwear, pajamas, bathing suit, jacket or sweater, a rain jacket, closed-toed shoes, sandals, and flip-flops.
4. Take Plenty Of Rest
Keep in mind that hiking is not a race where you’ve to come first. You can take plenty of rest along the way. It’s normal to feel exhausted on the trail. Your body will need time to recover. Plus, you get time to take in the scenery around you and replenish your energy while taking rest. Hike on your own pace. Don’t push yourself too much and simply try to enjoy the experience. Never compete with other hikers. It doesn’t matter how long you take to complete the hike as long as you are enjoying yourself. This way you will also be able to avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
5. Start With Short Hikes
You can always find a hike that offers the right level of personal challenge regardless of your age or athletic ability. But longer hikes will put a lot more strain on your body than short hikes. So, consider hiking on short easy trails in the beginning. Go on short hikes twice a week and try adding 20 minutes more to each hike over t
6. Check The Weather
Be sure to check the weather forecast for your planned destination before starting your hiking trip. See if any storms are expected or are there any weather warnings. It’s recommended to check reliable weather channels and websites a week before the start date of your trip. Changes in weather can impact your packing list. You may have to add in or remove certain supplies and equipment.
7.Share Your Plans
Remember to share your plans with friends and family before hitting the trails. Somebody should always know where you’re heading to. There’s always the probability of accidents happening while outdoors. So, it is in your best interest to inform a couple of trustworthy people about your travel plans who can help you in case of an emergency. Do not forget to timely update your loved ones about your whereabouts. That way, it’s easier to send/receive help if something bad were to happen to you.
Being old doesn’t mean you can’t go outdoors anymore. But in nature, there is no such thing as a “safety net”. Meaning there’s little room for error in trip planning. So, do consider following the hiking tips for seniors mentioned above to make sure you are set up for a successful hike. Lastly, all you now have to do is get out there and enjoy the outdoors.
What do you think of these tips? Got any extra hiking tips for seniors you’d like to share with us. Comment down below.
Want to learn about the benefits of hiking outdoors for seniors? Then check out this blog post.