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Last Updated on September 26, 2018 by Diane Hoffmaster
This post about hiking at 50 has been sponsored by DePuy Synthes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. All opinions are my own.
I decided to start hiking when I was in college and it is by far my favorite way to exercise. While I spend more time in the gym than I do on the trail, stationary bikes do not bring me the sort of enjoyment that I get from setting off on a hiking trail. But, hiking definitely gets more challenging the older I get!
Keep reading for a few middle aged hiking tips as well as information from DePuy Synthes to help you find a physician in your area who can talk to you about potential solutions for your hip or knee pain. Knee pain after 50 from hiking can ruin your enjoyment of the outdoors and it shouldn’t!
Want to be Hiking at 50? Do These 5 Things
Hiking in middle age isn't anywhere near as easy as it was when I was in my 20's. I used to climb mountains and cross rivers on fallen trees with zero regard for how I would feel the next day. Nowadays, though, I know that I am going to be sore and tired for days after a short hike. But, I still tackle the trails whenever I get the chance. It helps me keep in shape and clear my mind of all the worries of day to day life. Of course, if I want to be hiking at 50, I need to pay attention to my physical needs so I stay healthy enough to handle it. Here are a few things to consider if you want to hit the trail well into you older years.
Tackle Knee and Hip Pain Early
While no pain feels 'good', there is a big difference between your average muscle aches and pain that needs to be looked at by a physician. The age of 50 is honestly fairly young by today's standards. That means, knee or hip surgery to relieve chronic and severe joint problems can result in decades worth of pain free hiking.
Joint replacement surgery may be an option to get you back onto the hiking trail. Find a physician in your area who you can talk to about potential solutions to your hip and knee pain, including joint replacement surgery. Find out more at TimeToHitPlay.com.
Wear Hiking Compression Socks
Hiking socks are a vital piece of technical gear, no matter how old you are. However, as you get older, you need to consider compression socks for hiking. Why do elder hikers wear compression socks? Basically, these socks compress your legs to improve blood flow out of your hard working muscles. As a result, you may see less swelling of your feet and legs after hiking, which is a concern for some senior hikers.
Focus on prehiking conditioning and strength training
Gone are the days where you can nap on couches every day and then play weekend warrior without remorse. Senior hikers need to focus on conditioning and strength training regularly to avoid injury on the trail. Consider talking to a personal trainer to really focus on keeping your muscles strong and improving cardiovascular health.
Deal with Hiking Toe Problems ASAP
Your feet take quite a beating from hiking. Gravity, friction, pressure, and heat all wreak havoc on your toes. Tackle your hiking toe problems as soon as they arise. Hot spots, blisters, callouses, and even ingrown toenails may be small concerns you can handle at home. However, talk to a podiatrist if you have real concerns about healthy foot care. And don't let small issues become big issues because you don't think your minor toe problems are that big a deal.
Other Hiking Advice to Check Out
- Hiking Tips for Women: What the books don’t tell you!
- Hiking with Teens: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
- Summer Foot Care Tips for Beautiful and Healthy Feet
Rethink Your Hiking Gear
Gone are the days that I can carry a weekends worth of hiking gear with barely a sweat forming on my brow. I'm not sure how I used to manage to carry 3 days worth of food and water up into the mountains but I know it isn't going to happen again now that I am in my 50's. Keep your hiking gear lightweight if you are hiking in middle age. Some of the high end brands make incredibly lightweight back packs and they are worth the money compared to cheaper, heavier models.
I am in my late 40's right now and 50 is looming huge and frankly a bit scary right on the horizon. I do not plan on letting my age stop me from enjoying my favorite outdoor exercise. Happiness in middle age means I need to focus on good nutrition, staying in shape, and tackling the serious problems ASAP instead of putting them off.
Do you still enjoy hiking even in middle age?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.