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Backpacker Magazine – May 2009

Fitness Special—Hike Forever: Age 50-65

Fight the sedentary lifestyle and get a move on with these exercised and essential skill.s

by: Casey Lyons


 

 

Eat Right and Stay in Shape

The best way to burn unwanted body fat (one of the "gifts" of middle age) is through good nutrition. It sounds contradictory, but according to dietician Esther Cohen, eating more omega-3 fatty acids will help trim your waistline. Found in "wild meat," like grass-fed beef, organ meat, and especially wild salmon, trout, and sardines, omega-3s help the body metabolize stored fat into energy. They also strengthen immunity, decreasing the risk of chronic illness

Muscle Mix
Fuel up–and aid recovery–with this long- trail longevity formula full of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

1 cup raw pine nuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups spicy southwest walnuts with cayenne and cumin
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup black currants
3/4 cup dates, chopped
1 cup dried apples, chopped

Ancient Superfood
3,000 years ago, aztec indians munched chia seeds before running long distances. chia seeds have high doses of omega-3 fatty acids, lots of fiber, and protein to speed recovery after long runs.

Cross-train for big fitness gains
1. Mountain biking Pedaling up steep, uneven terrain builds leg power while giving joints a break. It also activates core muscles, important for combating the compressive forces of backpacking on the spine. Sub 8-10 hilly miles into your normal routine once or twice a week.

2. Road biking Great for endurance and explosive power, cycling enables prolonged training at sustained, varied intensities with none of the impact associated with running. Intervals increase VO2max. Ride 15-25 miles on hilly roads (varying your pace between mild and maximum exertion) once or twice a week.

3. Swimming Yes! A zero-impact sport that builds mega-endurance and lungs like Michael Phelps (okay, maybe). A freestyle stroke promotes full range of motion in shoulders and back, which battles stiffness, and resistance builds cardiovascular and muscular strength. Do .25 to .5 mile on endurance days.

Longevity Pose
Child's Pose to Down Dog
This yogic cure-all strengthens shoulders to help erase pack pain, a common complaint among baby boomers. It also releases hamstrings and calves. How: Child's Pose: Sit on your heels with the tops of your feet touching the ground. fold over your bent legs, reaching your arms in front of you. press palms into the ground and hang your head between them. Hold 5-10 breaths. Down dog: tuck your toes under, press into your hands, and lift your hips up and back. straighten your legs as much as possible and let your heels hang heavy. Hold 5-10 breaths.

Pad Your Peds
As you age you lose fat in the one place you want it: your feet. Make up for lost cushion–and increase comfort–with Thorlos' KX hiking sock, with added padding in the ball and heel. ($14; thorlo.com)


Trail mix recipes by Esther Cohen (sevenbowls.com)
Yoga poses by Margaret Burns Vap (bigskyyogaretreats.com)


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Reader Rating: Star Star Star

READERS COMMENTS

Bushwalker
Mar 26, 2012

I too am in better shape from hiking than I was at 30. Great article to encourage both genders to either keep going or start getting out there.

Rob Williamson
Oct 31, 2011

I find that on MSN, Sympatico and Yahoo almost almost 100% of the health articles are geared towards women. It's nice to see a good article for men.
Thank you so much.

Rob Williamson
Oct 31, 2011

I find that on MSN, Sympatico and Yahoo almost all the health articles are geared towards women. It's nice to see a good article for men.
Thank you so much.

Ann
Jul 29, 2011

At 61 I plan on doing lots more hiking, biking and backpacking. But as a woman I guess I will just have to make up my own fitness plan since you neglected to include us!

Tumbleweed
Jul 23, 2010

Great advice for men. How about a similar article focusing on women? We ARE different, you know.

Vic Nunez
Jul 23, 2010

Most of the perceived exertion scales go 1-10; can you put it in terms of 1-10, or explain your scale range?

Dani
Jul 23, 2010

As a 57 year old women that hikes regularly and just did a four day BP trip in the John Muir Wilderness, I say: this article is completely guy-centric. Are you suggesting mature women don't want a good outdoor fitness experience?

Dani
Jul 23, 2010

As a 57 year old women that hikes regularly and just did a four day BP trip in the John Muir Wilderness, I say: this article is completely guy-centric. Are you suggesting mature women don't want a good outdoor fitness experience?

Daryl Sturdy
Mar 16, 2010

Re print page. I had to go to Print page in my browser and reduce the scale to 50% to get the whole page.

Henry GrosJean
Mar 16, 2010

I am 63 and have exercised my whole life. These are great suggestions as myself and a buddy climb a local hill in Phoenix, AZ 3-times per week and run up the last quarter of the hill. Great cardio!
We hike rim to rim in the GC every year.

tim buffington
Mar 16, 2010

Do what the article says, I am 67 and did 7 miles on snowshoes yesterday with a 25 pound pack. I regularly do 7 to 10 mile day hikes with pack at 8000 to 9000 feet in the summer. I'm able to do this because I have been following a similar program for a long time.

swampsis
Sep 25, 2009

So you say to do endurance hiking twice weekly for 45 minutes. What is endurance hiking, would love to partake

trailsprinter
Jul 07, 2009

Through regular weight training and hiking I can honestly say I'm in better shape now, at age 57, than I was when I started backpacking at 15. For example, I did a 17-mile day hike on the local trails a month ago. Couldn't have come close to that 42 years ago.

Jack Dettra
Jun 17, 2009

Yes, if you are going to "show" a Print the Page, make sure your program will print the page. It doesn't.

Elmer Cheatham
Jun 12, 2009

Great article! At 55 I can already relate to every item covered in the article. Maybe this will give me the encouragement I need to take corrective action before any more damage is done.

Thanks and keep up the good work. Great magazine.!

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