Hiking is one of the best ways for senior citizens to get outside and exercise. It helps improve bone health, reduce arthritis, ease joint and knee pain, and boost overall strength.
However, it can be challenging for older adults to hike, especially when they are new to the sport. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your hikes:
Low Impact Exercise
Hiking is a great low-impact exercise for seniors who want to get in some physical activity but are hesitant about the impact on their joints. It’s also a great way to get some fresh air and spend time outdoors with friends and family.
Seniors can start by walking around their neighborhood or a park. This is a great way to get used to the uneven terrain of hiking before heading out on long hikes.
It’s important for senior citizens to stay active in their golden years, as it can help them maintain strength, balance, and mental health. Exercising also releases endorphins, which can increase feelings of joy and relaxation.
Staying socially active is important for hiking senior citizens to maintain emotional, intellectual and physical wellness. Studies show that staying connected with friends and family helps reduce loneliness and isolation – two factors that are detrimental to health and longevity.
A study by UC San Francisco researchers found that seniors who suffered from loneliness were at higher risk for cognitive and functional decline. Getting more social interaction can improve their overall well-being and reduce the cost of care.
The study also revealed that the PNNST hikers shared a subculture, a unique and often associated social element for long-distance trails (Fondren and Brinkman 2019). This subculture was evident in how many PNNST hikers frequently visited trail towns to interact with other hikers or trail angels, creating a robust and tight-knit community on the trail.
Aside from the physical benefits, being outdoors can provide a mental lift for seniors. Research suggests that participating in nature walks can increase feelings of happiness and reduce depression and stress.
Getting outside also increases the amount of Vitamin D in the body, which is associated with a range of health benefits, including reduced risk of disease and improved bone density.
While hiking can be a daunting activity for some senior citizens, it can be achieved with the help of a good caregiver and appropriate outdoor gear. If you are new to hiking, it is recommended that you start small and work your way up. To get started, consider visiting your local park and hiking the trails with a professional care worker or friend. Having other hikers to share the experience can make the trip more enjoyable and may even encourage your loved one to keep going!
Hiking is a great exercise that can help your senior citizen stay in shape. It can also help reduce arthritis, ease joint and knee pain, boost bone density, and improve cardiovascular health.
In addition to the physical benefits, hiking can also provide mental and emotional lift for your senior citizen. It can increase their sense of well-being, and it can help them to meet new people who have similar interests.
Another important thing to consider for hiking is that seniors need to exercise safely. They should always check with their doctor before they begin a new activity. The CDC recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week. This type of activity can be done by walking, swimming, cycling, and even hiking.