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Backpacking at 62

Am I too old to take up hiking?

Question:

I turn 62 in the spring and will be retired, and I want to take up backpacking. Will I be too old to start? If not, what injuries will I be more prone to incur and what can I do to prevent them?

Submitted by - Jim, Oklahoma City, OK

Answer:

 Of course you will not be too old! I turned 62 a few months ago, and although I’ve got a lot of trail miles behind me, I can tell you that it is never too late. I have noticed that I am actually less likely to incur an injury, probably because I take my time, watch my step, prepare well in advance, and talk young guys into carrying the heavy stuff. Older people are not, in fact, any more susceptible to specific injuries than younger people. They are, however, more susceptible to medical conditions, so be sure to see your doc for a check-up before shouldering a pack. And spend time getting into shape before heading out for a week in the wilderness. (See our "Hike Forever: Ultimate Hiking Workouts" article for training programs specific to various age brackets, including 50 to 65.)  —Buck

1 Comment

  1. Wyatt

    Jim – unless senility has already set in, at only 62, you should know by now what injuries you would be prone to. Do you do anything athletic now?, hike?, bike?, swim? If not, stay home and walk in the park. If you can carry weight, for days, over varied terrain – the injuries you get from backpacking will be anything you could imagine only in a remote setting with no ambulance to call. If you’ve never experienced the psychological aspects of backcountry living, try it with a group or a guided tour after training and conditioning a few months.
    Otherwise find a bigger park or stick to car camping.

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