The province of Ontario has the right idea. Provide seniors with training so they can enjoy one of their favourite activities: hiking. This program is for both beginners and expert hikers. Seniors can take the program to become familiar with hiking and also so they will have others to hike with.
Hiking can have many benefits for older adults and seniors, including:
- Mobility and independence. Walking is the one physical activity that most of us can do to provide ourselves with much needed exercise. It helps improve our mobility and balance, both of which can prevent falls.
- Depression and anxiety. All types of exercise can help us lift our moods but hiking outdoors has the added benefits of fresh air, wildlife and new experiences.
- Muscle strength. Many hiking trails have slight inclines. By slowly training ourselves to walk uphill more we are building muscle strength, especially in our legs and abdomen.
- Improved cardiovascular health and circulation. Moving your body, even at a slower pace, is good for your heart.
- Increased bone density. When you are walking or hiking, you are carrying your weight with each step. This helps your bones to grow and keeps them strong as you age.
- Increased cognitive ability. Walking and hiking help to improve your cognitive ability. Your memory and reaction time will improve.
Hiking is also a great way to spend time with other members of your family. Take a lunch and hike to an area nearby for a picnic. It’s a healthy way to enjoy the company of others. The Hiking Initiative in Ontario focuses on safety, planning, sustainability and enjoyment. It helps to teach you to enjoy the outdoors in a safe manner while becoming more physically fit. To read more about the hiker programme or how to become a certified hike leader, click here.