Your out there most weekends, dragging kit off to regular camping spots, doing some long distance hiking/camping or simply climbing local peaks, but does all this have a physical expiration date?
Constant strenuous exercise can take its toll on the human body and things start to wear out, its just a matter of time.
So, the question is at what point do you think its going to be game over and those crazy 3 days trips around places like Snowdonia are a thing of the past?. Do you feel confident you’ll still have the same level of basic fitness, 5, 10 or 20 years from now?
As I approach 50, this is on my mind more and more because being outdoors is what I truly love. You see, a lifetime spent camping/hiking has taken its toll, and even if you take away the more serious injuries (broken bones etc), there’s been much wear and tear (even I wince at the crunch from my knees when kneeling down, and I know its coming!).
Health in Retrospection
Knowing what I know now, I’d have taken much better care of myself in younger years. It makes me laugh sometimes to think that even if I managed time travel and tried to explain all this to my past self, he’d most likely swear at me then try to push me off a cliff 🙂 (thankfully I’ve calmed down in my old age).
If I could recommend one thing right this very minute to a new hiker, it would be walking poles. The science of how they help keep the weight off the more vulnerable parts of your body is that simple, that there’s no disputing the long term benefits.
Although there’s going to be times when its impractical to use them, even average use will give your knees a longer shelf life.
People to draw inspiration from and some hope that’ll its possible to keep going for a long time yet are numerous. Even without the hikers in their 80,s I’ve seen carving up the coast path this summer, there’s plenty of old ‘uns stories available to read online.
These are just a few from a quick Google search…..
Call it an obsession, a passion or an addiction, but when the time comes I’ll be happy to make concessions just to get out for a night. I imagine these are going to be in the form of any light weight walking aids needed, a whole new wardrobe of thermal wear (even in summer) and cutting right down the on (sometimes extreme) distances hiked just getting to a camp site.
Thankfully I’m not there yet and despite some aches and pains from a life of misadventure, those long grueling hikes and the rougher side of wild camping (no tent and just falling over once I’ve walked enough) are still possible 🙂