Hiking is a great way to get out and enjoy nature. It’s also a great way for seniors to stay healthy and active. The challenge, of course, is that hiking can be difficult for older people. Let this blog post be your guide! We’ll cover the basics as well as some essential gear you might need when going on hikes with seniors in mind.
Seniors often have different hiking needs and limitations.
Make sure to research the trails before you go so that they are not too difficult for your friend or loved one.
Be mindful of distances, inclines (whether it’s up steep hills or down), water sources, weather conditions, wildlife encounters, etc.
If possible, plan ahead with a map in hand! The day-of hike might be tougher than expected if there is no cell service and the GPS doesn’t work properly on some devices.
Bring plenty of snacks such as nuts/trail mix with protein options like jerky for energy; granola bars; dried fruit; crackers – anything without chocolate since this will make them thirsty due to the di uretic properties.
Pack a first-aid kit with emergency contact information, bandages for blisters or wounds, sunscreen (consider SPF 50), insect repellent and medication such as Ibuprofen if needed.
Consider your friend’s mobility so that they don’t have to walk too far without sitting down every quarter mile or less than five minutes at any point during the hike – tear up their old sweater into strips of cloth about 18 inches long which can then be used as makeshift “knee pads” on rocky terrain and smooth out any bumps in the trail ahead before proceeding; wear appropriate shoes with enough support for their foot condition(s).
If you are hiking with someone who has knee problems, it’s important to take long, gradual descents (never down a flight of stairs) and allow about 15-20 minutes for the person with knee problems to recover before descending again.
Keep in mind that your friend might not want you to carry their pack but they may need help carrying some items such as water bottles or snacks – make sure there are no sharp objects like broken glass in their backpack which can injure someone who wants to help them.
If hiking with someone senior, bring plenty of food because it will be harder for them to eat on the trail; consider making sandwiches ahead of time so that if necessary meals don’t have too much salt or other ingredients which could exacerbate medical conditions such as high blood pressure. Bring more water than you think.
If the senior has medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease be mindful of their intake and consumption levels; if they are lightheaded or dizzy this may indicate that they need more water so don’t forget to offer it!
Pace yourself – remember that older people have less stamina and endurance than younger adults do.
Be patient with slower hikers because sometimes it’s not a matter of wanting to go slow but just an inability due to age-related physical limitations.
Always bring essentials like water (and more!), snacks, sunscreen/hat in case it’s sunny out
Bring a map of your route with you if possible
Let someone know where you’re going and when they should expect you back
If you need to stop for any reason – take deep breaths! When we get so focused on just getting up the hill that our breathing becomes short and shallow, this can cause us to fatigue faster than necessary. Try taking three or four long slow breaths before continuing onward.
Do not overestimate your abilities – be realistic about what YOU are capable of doing based off past hiking experiences and fitness level
Pace yourself – remember that older people have less stamina , so you’ll want to slow down more often, take breaks or even turn back if necessary
Stay hydrated and eat snacks – especially salty ones like pretzels for electrolytes
Remember that the top of a hill is not always the end. You may find yourself hiking up one side of a mountain only to realize there’s another steep incline waiting on the other side. If this happens, make sure to take time before continuing!
When it comes to choosing which trail you’re going hike, try picking out shorter trails with an easy ascent and no many switchbacks as possible
Always bring essentials like water (and more!), snacks, sunscreen/hat in case it’s sunny out snacks, and a map in case you get lost
Pack your bag so that it’s balanced and light. You don’t want to carry something too heavy for the whole length of the hike
Always bring an extra layer if it might be cold out, pack layers of clothes with different weights or make sure there are some inside pockets where you can stash them easily
Choose comfortable shoes – hiking up a mountain is tricky! Save yourself from blisters by having appropriately cushioned soles on your feet and sturdy uppers. Remember: there will probably be rocks, roots, pebbles, etc., so good grip should also be important
Layering clothing is always recommended – even if we’re not talking about winter weather! This is because the temperature might change quickly, so it’s good to have a few different options on hand.
Bring snacks and drinks – you never know when your body will need them! Keep some in your pack just in case
Carry plenty of water with you: Carry at least two liters per person (and more if that feels comfortable). Hiking can be thirsty work, even without being outside for hours. It is also important to drink enough water before heading out as well.
Stay hydrated by taking small sips every hour or so as needed
Have an idea of how long you plan to walk; this way you’ll know whether or not there are any emergency phone numbers nearby in case someone needs