Hiking After 50: How to Adjust Your Training Routine

I am a lifelong hiker and I have reached my 60-year benchmark. 

Age is just a number. This saying became quite popular recently and in fact, if we take our aging process seriously and do the right things to stay healthy we can be living proof of this saying.

Whether we like it or not, as we age our bodies undergo changes that can affect our ability to hike and our overall health. That’s why it’s essential to adjust our training routine to accommodate these changes.

Let me share with you what helps me to stay in shape and continue my regular hiking adventures.

Avoid Injury becomes a TOP PRIORITY!

As we age, it takes longer for our bodies to recover from injury. Therefore my first and most important tip for older hikers is to avoid injury at all costs. What took you a few days to heel when you were 20 may take weeks in your fifties.

Rather than pushing yourself to the limit, focus on consistency and build your strength and endurance over time. Patience becomes our best friend!


Consistency is key to developing a sustainable training routine that will help us achieve our goals. Whether you’re training for a long-distance hike or simply looking to improve your fitness level, consistency is essential. It is better to train 30 minutes daily than 2 hours once a week. Try to establish a regular weekly schedule and stick to it as much as possible.

Set realistic targets and pick exercises that you like and that you can do with the proper form, it will help you to follow your schedule. Don’t blame yourself if you missed your workout, just pick up where you stopped and continue. Self-blaming does not help.

Add more variation to your training.

I am not a gym rat so for me variation is very important to avoid getting bored with my training routine. It also helps me to challenge my body in different ways. We are all different. I for example like to exercise outdoors but you may prefer the gym. In any case, there are millions of ways how you can diversify your training. My weekly routine incorporates hiking, walking, running, strength training, and cross-training.

Hiking fitness

Hike or Walk Daily.

I am very thankful for my dog. Whether I like it or not I have to walk him daily at least 3-4 kilometers and it helps me a lot to stay fit.

Try to find your motivation to walk every day. This is the best way to get yourself ready for your hiking adventures. The best way to become better at hiking is to walk. If you watch how elite endurance athletes are training you will see that 70-80% of their training consists of the activity they are training for!

Start with short 20-30-minute walks and gradually increase your walking time. Increase speed as you get fitter. When ready consider wearing a loaded backpack (or weighted west) to increase the resistance and intensity of your workout. Start with 10% of your weight, but do not go over 15-20% to avoid overuse of your joints.

Strength training is EXTREMELY important.

As we age, our muscle mass naturally decreases. Many recent studies show that strength training helps to maintain and even increase muscle mass at any age. This is important for maintaining our overall physical function and reducing the risk of falls and fractures which grow exponentially as we age.

Strength training can also help to improve bone density, which helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Strength training also improves balance and coordination, which are very important when walking and hiking on uneven terrain.

Last but not least, strength training increases our metabolic rate, which can help to maintain a healthy weight.

strength training for hiking fitness

Mind what you Eat

As we get older, our bodies require more micronutrients and minerals to function properly. Therefore, it’s important to pay close attention to the quality of our diet by eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

Check also some of my favorite snacks that I take with me on a hike.

I used to be a meat eater, but recently I decided to try the way how people it in so-called blue zones. Blue Zones are identified places on Earth where people leave longer than in other parts. These blue Zones are spread across the globe, but what is common between them is the way how people eat there. 

They all eat mostly plant-based diets and they eat much less food.

Now I mostly eat a varied plant-based diet and just occasionally consume fish and lean meat.

I do this now for 6 months. Despite that I was never overweight I still lost 8 kilos of weight. I feel more energy and recover quicker. These are my first observations. 

Hydration Becomes Even More Important

I noticed that as I am getting older, my perception of thirst became dull.

Now I pay close attention to my hydration levels by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This is especially important when I am hiking, as my body loses more water through sweat.

Quality Sleep is Important.

Getting enough quality sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. As we age, it becomes even more important to prioritize sleep by creating a calm, relaxing environment conducive to restful sleep.

What helps me is to go to bed at the same time every day and not use electronic devices for at least one hour before bedtime.

Take Everything a Little Bit More Seriously

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to take care of our bodies by paying attention to our training, nutrition, and recovery. This means taking a more serious and intentional approach to our overall health and well-being.

Listen to your body. 

Am I tired today? If so – move today’s hard session to tomorrow or take an extra day of recovery.

Enjoy your hiking and remember, age can really become just a number if we do the right things as we age!

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