Over 50 and Fit: Trail Tested

I’m Barrie, and I warmly welcome you to the 7th post of my bi-weekly blog, Over50andFit.    

Hiking for over-50’s can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a challenge if you have not hiked before. Hiking is an extension of walking, and hiking will also follow naturally. This blog is mainly intended for those who have never hiked before or those who have not hiked for a long time.

Barrie hiking in BC

Some Benefits of Hiking

Among them: good exercise and getting fit, lots of fun, a sense of achievement, immersing yourself in nature, enjoying spectacular vistas, meeting like-minded hikers to chat with, extending your social network, and even leading to a sense of euphoria. Caution: you just might develop a life-long passion for hiking! I am indebted to some members of the site Hiking British Columbia who helped me prepare this list. In addition, I have included inspirational comments from seniors (or children of seniors) who belong to this group: Gloria, Tonya, Don and Jodie.

When Hiking

I don’t want to deluge you with what might seem like a mass of information, but we have to be thoroughly prepared for new ventures.

  • Choose a local trail
  • Pick a flat trail for beginners
  • Start short in distance
  • You could first practice walking in your neighbourhood carrying a weighted knapsack to build up your strength
  • Familiarize yourself (Online) with the trail
  • Download AllTrails.com, and get to know the trail before hiking. This App has information on 100,000+ trails
  • Dress for the weather, layers are essential. Carry a light rain jacket that doubles as a windbreaker
  • Pace yourself – listen to your body; you have to know what your limits are, when you can push, and when it is safer to just back off
  • If you are by yourself, choose a time of day when there will be more people on the trail
  • If you want buddies to hike with, you can contact Hiking British Columbia
  • Wear loose clothing (no jeans) and sturdy shoes or strong sneakers
  • Take water and snacks, for example trail mix
  • Stop every 15/20 minutes, eat and rest
  • Take your cell phone, favourite pain-killers, first-aid kit, suntan lotion, whistle (for help), and if your wear eyeglasses, a spare pair
  • You might want a walking stick or trekking poles
  • Don’t wander off the trail
  • Notify a family member or friend of your hike and also when you return
  • If you live on the North Shore in BC, read about NorthShoreRescue.com
  • And the old adage, Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Hiking British Columbia

This website comprises some 50,000 hikers; the scenic shots posted daily are both spectacular and breath-taking. What is more, the members are both passionate and supportive. No matter which kind of question is posed, you can guarantee an plethora of helpful responses. Do take advantage of this helpful forum – no matter how basic or complex your question is, you will be helped. The site is worth viewing for the scenic shots alone.

Comments by Over-70 Hikers on the Hiking British Columbia Site

Gloria
For my 70th birthday in October (2020) I hiked Mt. Provost in Duncan, B.C. – a birthday present to myself. I hope I will have the strength, self-drive and discipline as you do at your age (Barrie at 84). I love the wilderness so much that I cannot imagine not being able to hike there.

Tonya
My mom is 73 and walks/hikes daily. She says it keeps her healthy, mentally, and physically.

Don
For my 70th birthday this past September (2020), I did a 3-day back-packing trip to Yoho – into Laughing Falls, Yoho, then out via the ice-line. Yup, I’m a lot slower up hills and more careful downhill but still keep up a decent pace on the flats.

Jodie
My dad is 72 and did the North Coast Trail this summer (2020) with my husband and son. He did it last summer also, with my husband, daughter and I.

Caution: I strongly urge you to consult your family doctor before you begin an exercise program, particularly if you have not exercised for a long period of time. In addition, start slowly and gradually add more time and then intensity.

Please feel free to share your comments and questions.

Make sure to keep hydrated – drink lots of water. Feel good about yourself. You’re doing something that has many benefits.

In my next blog, I will discuss the merits of another form of exercise: indoor cycling.

Yours in fitness,

Barrie

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Harry Smaller

Great article! Looking forward to good weather and a chance to get out!

Susan Dyson

Thanks for the inspiration to keep at it, Barrie. Lots of good resources, too, to help me get out there more, and make this year better physically, than last was.

Barrie

Thank you for your comment, Susan. If I can help in any way, do not hesitate in contacting me.

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