For seniors, here are a few tips to make a walk up a hill safe and enjoyable too
A recent newspaper report said that a man in his 50s died on his way up the Velliangiri hills in Coimbatore. As he walked up to a shrine on the top of the hill, he felt breathless. To avoid any untoward incident, here are a few things to keep in mind when going uphill, if you’re a senior or not used to exercise.
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Get a medical check-up
Consult a doctor to clear you for your trek. An uphill trek will exert your lungs and heart. Check your haemoglobin count (it should be above 10g/dL) and the condition of your knees, hips and ankles.
Prepare your body and mind
Start preparing at least three months in advance if you are planning an arduous trek. If you are new to exercise, start walking for 30 minutes each day on a plain surface and gradually increase the time. Once your body is used to that exertion, try walking on an incline. Stretch your calves, hamstrings and glute muscles under the supervision of a physiotherapist initially. Flexibility reduces the chances of muscle and joint injuries.
Watch what you eat
A protein-rich diet tones and strengthens muscles and reduces body fat. Add sprouts, beans, eggs, fish and chicken, all rich in proteins. Avoid fried and junk food. Carry a few snacks if it’s going to be over an hour. Water is important too, so carry a light-weight bottle.
Take short steps, find your pace
Always warm up before you start your trek. Taking shorter strides is easier on the body and helps maintain balance. Keep to a pace that you are comfortable with. It is okay to lag behind a little.
Keep your back straight
Posture is important as you walk. When climbing a hill, one might have a tendency to lean towards the hill. This can cause pain due to the stress on the knees and hip. Keeping your back straight will help maintain balance. Use a trekking pole for extra support.
Monitor your heart rate
Using a heart-rate tracker is advisable. Walking uphill will increase the heart rate by 10% to 15%. If the heart rate reaches 100 beats per minute or above, stop the trek and rest for a while before you resume your walk.
It always helps to have company on these treks. Conversations ease the difficulty of a climb. And it is also wise to have a companion who is aware of your health condition. Stop in case of any discomfort, and gradually descend.
This article first appeared on http://www.thehindu.com.The original can be read here