Hiking benefits for women over 50

Table of Contents

6 Hiking benefits

1-Hiking benefits and mental health. Hiking activities remarkably impact your mood and provide other health benefits.

Have you ever experienced the uplifting transformation when you immerse yourself in the great outdoors? Maintaining a good mood can bolster your physical health by reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and enhancing your immune system’s function.

Your mood can significantly impact your environment, as a positive attitude tends to create a more harmonious and productive atmosphere, whereas a negative one can contribute to a sense of tension and negativity.

2- Bone health. Hiking and walking are excellent exercises for women over 50. It stimulates bone health because it’s a weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercises help bone tissue grow and strengthen your bones and joints.

Weight-bearing exercises are essential for women over 50 because they help control or slow down osteoporosis.

Hiking engages various muscle groups, especially those in your legs, back, and core. Strong muscles support your bones and joints, reducing the risk of falls and fractures.

3- Energising. A hike over short or long distances will renew you, provide a great cardiovascular workout, contribute to better fitness, and your body will be flushed with oxygen, giving you lots of energy.

Imagine the wilderness around you, enveloped by the lush greenery of mountains, gorgeous flowers, and the symphony of nature’s melodies, such as the birds, your feet on the ground, and the sound of the trees moving on windy days-dreamy, right?

Hiking will make you feel super energized.

4- Nature is healthy. It’s vital to escape the clutches of artificial lighting and reconnect with the natural world as frequently as possible. Prolonged periods indoors can make you feel restricted, and your world may seem confined.

5-Hormone Regulation: Exercises like walking and hiking can help regulate hormones and alleviate menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and menopausal general discomfort.

Speed up your walk or hike. Fast-paced walks and hikes will help your heart and other organs get more blood and oxygen, and your body will work more efficiently.

6- Improve Cognitive Function: Walking and hiking activities can bolster cognitive abilities and lower the likelihood of experiencing cognitive decline linked with aging.

treetops on Sintra hills trails in Portugal

Treetops on the Sintra hills hiking trail. Portugal

Hiking benefits for your mental health

Going on hiking routes in national parks or mountains and being outdoors will expand your perception of the world, and you’ll discover a newfound sense of appreciation for space and freedom.

Your mood improves with hiking.

Maintaining a positive outlook can truly brighten your day and make every aspect of your life more enjoyable.

When you’re in a good mood, approaching your daily challenges and tasks becomes a breeze, and you may even relish some of the more demanding ones. Furthermore, it can enhance your social and family life, making you more approachable, empathetic, and a pleasure to be around.

So, let’s not underestimate the incredible mental and physical health benefits that hiking can provide. Think of hiking as a potent elixir for your mood and your body.

Remove yourself from your daily routine, get off the computer, away from the TV, change the scenery, and improve your overall mental health.

Add a climb uphill or a fast-paced walk on a trail, and your body will create endorphins. The change of scenery and body movement will work wonders for your overall mental well-being.

And remember, being in a good mood isn’t just about pleasing others; it’s about nurturing your emotional well-being. A positive mood fosters resilience, optimism, and a greater ability to cope with life’s challenges.

Hiking trail, tall trees, sunny sky, Portugal

Hiking path on Sintra Hills in Portugal.

Say goodbye to stress!

When you venture onto those hiking trails, the weight of stress and anxiety magically vanishes into the wild, and you will feel a peaceful, clear state of mind. Isn’t that just fantastic?

Rediscover, recharge, and feel good.

Hiking isn’t just a walk in the park; for many hikers, it’s a journey of self-discovery and rejuvenation. Amidst the breathtaking beauty of nature, you’ll uncover inner peace, tap into your physical strength, and give your mental health a much-needed power-up.

lake, sunny skies, sintra hills in Portugal, dry plants in the foreground

Peaceful scenery are relaxing- a short hike is like a vacation.

Cognitive function: Your brain’s superhero.

Cognitive function is like a toolbox packed with problem-solving skills, decision-making prowess, memory magic, balance finesse, attentive ninja moves, and razor-sharp reasoning.

These mental skills are the secret sauce that spices up your daily life and adds zest to your overall well-being.

As we journey through life, it’s no secret that cognitive function can take a hit, especially with the passing years. But fear not! There are fun and fulfilling ways to give your brain a boost.

Socializing, learning new things, and keeping those neurons dancing is like a magical potion for your mind.

Hiking is like a natural cognitive enhancer. The winding trails and challenging paths transform you into an attentive trailblazer, keeping your balance on point. Plus, hiking with pals is not just exercise; it’s a social adventure without the stress.

Hiking strengthens your body, and you maintain physical health and a sense of independence while having a blast.

So, grab those hiking boots and let your cognitive function bloom on a scenic mountain path.

marguerite blogger walking on a flooded area in the Sintra Hills Portugal

Marguerite (blogger at 50 and Rising) Hiking challenges help your cognitive functions.

The magical “me time” after a hike

  • After a good hike (or walk), find a comfortable spot on a rock or grass at the end of your trail.

  • Take a moment to leisurely observe your surroundings, slowly turning your gaze to the sky and treetops.

  • As you sit, breathe calmly without specific goals- this is not a meditation.

  • Use your phone to capture your surroundings, or if you prefer, carry a small notebook for sketching; it’s a great alternative.

  • Allow yourself to unwind and soak in the serenity of the moment. When you sense a wave of calmness, rise from your spot.

These concluding moments of relaxation serve as a mental snapshot, ensuring that when the pressures of the day surge, you can recall this tranquil interlude, helping you find relaxation throughout your day.

Hiking guide photographing a lake scenery in Portugal

Sandra from Sintra Hikes photographing near Monserrate Palace, Sintra hill.

Let the hiking trail spark your social life after 50 and 60

Hiking solo is fantastic, but the fun multiplies when you hit the trails with fellow earthlings. The collective energy of the group, all conquering the same challenges, will have you feeling like you’ve got superpowers.

When you’re facing a tricky part of the terrain on the trail, you’ve got a crew of friendly hands to help you out. And don’t even get us started on the epic chats you’ll have on the way down a hill – that’s where the real magic happens.

Plus, hiking with a group of other hikers naturally keeps you on track, so you won’t lose your pace or groove.

Backs of My sister and friends hiking in Brazil

Let hiking trails spark your social life

Establishing friendships for women over 50

I chatted with some fabulous ladies in their 50s and 60s, and guess what? Meeting people and making new friends when you’ve got a few decades under your belt can be a head-scratcher.

Those daily routines can turn us into homebodies, making it tricky to break free and mingle. With busy families, friends moving away, or even some of our loved ones passing on, it’s easy to feel the pangs of loneliness.

Solitude starts creeping in, and can feel like a permanent houseguest. But let’s face it, we all need to break out of that cozy cocoon now and then to spice up life.

large rock at the top of the hill, blue sky, Portugal

Top of the hill.

So, how do you meet people without feeling like you’re auditioning for a reality show?

Well, my friends, the answer is simple: join some fun small-group classes or clubs where you can have a blast while chatting away.

Walking and hiking groups are like a match made in heaven for this.

When you hike in a group, it’s like hitting the turbo button on your social life. You’re not just wandering through the woods; you’re building connections. It’s like a secret ingredient for a happy life. You’re among all sorts of folks, and as you keep joining these adventures, your chances of forming genuine connections shoot through the roof.

And even if you don’t find your new BFF immediately, you’re still in good company, having fun conversations, getting those legs moving, and breaking free from the “Netflix and chill” isolation at home.

Sandra the guide on top of hill, yellow small flowers, bolders and blue/gray sky

Sandra hiking on Sintra hills, Portugal

Does hiking help menopause symptoms?

Ah, menopause – the time when it feels like your energy is playing hide and seek, hot flashes become your unexpected BFFs, and that mental fog can make everyday life feel like an unsolvable puzzle.

Hiking and walking won’t miraculously make menopause disappear, but they sure pack a punch when it comes to helping you deal with menopausal symptoms. Enter the superheroes of the story: endorphins!

These little guys are like your body’s very own mood-lifting, feel-good elixir.

And the best part? Your body goes into endorphin-production mode when hiking, walking, dancing, or just getting your groove on.

The more you move, the more of these magical mood boosters you’ll have, and the brighter your day will shine.

So, what is the secret sauce to tackling menopausal symptoms?

Stay active! Whether hiking, dancing, or finding any movement that tickles your fancy, it’s all about keeping those endorphins flowing and softening the blows of menopause.

Hit the trails, get moving, and regain control of your fabulous self. Don’t let menopause symptoms take over your life.

Stay active!

View of trail, green trees and plants, tall trees,

Sintra hills, Portugal

My menopause pet peeve

Hormonal changes

The hormonal changes accompanying Menopause can disrupt every aspect of a woman’s life; it’s like trying to fix a rocket ship with a wrench.

Ladies, we’re in this together, and it’s time to kickstart a conversation about proper women’s healthcare during this wild ride.

It’s frustrating to hear that many women seeking help for their menopausal symptoms are handed antidepressant prescriptions like they’re candy.

But these symptoms are no joke – we’re talking fatigue, hot flashes that could turn a snowman into a puddle, insomnia that feels like a bad Netflix series, and that extra stubborn weight making itself right at home.

So, what happens? Some of our friends hop on the antidepressant train, only to discover it’s a one-way ticket to a side effect city. Others go on a doctor-hopping spree, trying everything from holistic remedies to the kitchen sink, and still, the search for a menopause whisperer continues.

It’s like we’re all caught in an endless loop, desperately searching for the right help.

Big mushrooms, trees in background, Sintra hill, Portugal

Huge mushrooms on Sintra trails in Portugal


I was disheartened to learn that a dear friend battling insomnia was given antidepressants that did not alleviate her specific concerns. Well, she wasn’t depressed. She started to have insomnia when her menopause began, but her doctor brushed off that little fact.

I also suffer from insomnia, and this past, my doctor gave me an antidepressant prescription that I did not fill because I was not feeling depressed- I simply couldn’t (and can’t) sleep all night. So frustrating.

I am on an “insomnia-maniac” quest (more on this in a future post). I’m looking for tips and solutions for insomnia and look forward to reading about your failures and successes.

Personal Menopause, walking, and hiking experience

I can confidently say that engaging in physical activities like walking, hiking, and regular exercise can significantly alleviate the discomforts associated with Menopause and offer many health benefits- like weight control.

Hiking helped improve my sleep quality on the hike days, allowing for a restful night. I now understand the importance of some daily body movements.

Additionally, spending time together with fellow hikers fostered invaluable social connections. For example, I went on a full-moon hike with interesting people and joined city cultural walks and walking foodie tours. All these activities have made my social life more exciting and changed my outlook towards life. Plus, I always come home in the best of moods! My anxiety levels diminished, and the clarity that came with a less cluttered mind fueled newfound creativity, granting space for thoughtful reflection.

Most importantly, through hiking, I’ve discovered the physical benefits of being outdoors and a deep sense of happiness when surrounded by green. My new profound love for being in nature has become an essential part of my life. My apartment in Lisbon has lovely plants, and I buy vibrant, fresh flowers weekly to brighten up my space.

I consider myself a “weekend hiker, “something I didn’t think I would ever say.

me and Sandra, hiking guide in Portugal

Me and Sandra hiking the Sintra hills.

My private hiking guide

Two years ago, I enlisted the help of a private guide. Sandra is a fabulous hiker who started Sintra Hikes for beginner and experienced hikers here in Portugal.

My first four hikes were painfully slow walks up and down hills, and I will never forget a particularly steep trail! I had difficulty breathing correctly while climbing and had to stop to “catch my breath” many times.

I fear heights, struggle with poor physical balance, and was notably out of shape when I started to hike. Hiking was challenging, but I wanted to be outdoors and get to know the Sintra area. And I was on a mission to become a good hiker.

Every time we climbed a hill, I used to feel a twinge of embarrassment, taking more rest stops than I care to admit. But my guide, Sandra, didn’t let me throw in the towel; instead, she nudged me onward, one step at a time.

View of Cascais, Guincho Beach

Eventually, I started to finish my hikes, wanting to go on the next adventure and get on just one more trail- such a wonderful feeling.

Sandra’s tips for balance improvement, breathing, and learning to navigate slippery surfaces turned me into a confident hiker, and my passion for hiking grew.

Nowadays, for example, I enjoy going down a demanding and steep hiking trail while holding onto tree trunks for balance. It’s exhilarating!

I’m delighted to report that I’ve made substantial progress, overcoming many limitations. I rarely take breaks nowadays, and my breathing is much better. I’m not afraid of a challenging new hiking route; however, I am still scared of heights.

Day hiking food

Energizing Eats for Epic Day Hikes.

When I hit the trails for a day of adventure, I’ve got a secret stash of trailside treats that keep me fueled and ready for anything. I am always hungry at the end of a hike.

But I’m not the only one passionate about peak-day snacking – my fellow day hikers have trail game-changing recommendations.

Here’s the golden rule of gentle paths and mountain backpacking for hikers: Don’t over-pack! For a fantastic day of mountain hiking, you’ll want a mix of snacks and an abundance of hydration.

🥪 Sandwiches: But hold the mayo! Opt for dry sandwiches with hearty fillings like cheese or meats to keep your hiking fuel crisp and delicious.

  • The last thing you want is a soggy sandwich weighing you down. If you crave a hint of moisture, a whisper-thin layer of olive oil on the bread is your secret weapon.

  • 🍎 Apples or other non-juicy fruits: Keep your fruity companions crisp and refreshing, ensuring they won’t turn your backpack into a fruit salad.

  • 🥥 Coconut water, the sugar-less superhero: When you need a mid-hike pick-me-up, coconut water swoops in to save the day with its natural electrolytes. It’s like a burst of tropical energy straight from the heavens.

  • 💧 Hydration Heroes: Stay well-hydrated with plenty of water.

  • 🥜 Trail Mix or Nut Bounty: For that extra burst of energy, don’t forget to pack a bag of your favorite nuts or a trail mix concoction that’ll keep you crunching through your hiking challenges ahead.

  • Don’t forget to take your own garbage bag!

  • So, whether chasing waterfalls, conquering peaks, walking down a trail, or simply reveling in the great outdoors, these day hiking foods will turn your hike into an unforgettable adventure. Embrace the excitement, embrace the flavors, and conquer your trail like a true hiking hero! 🏞️🥾🌲

    Hiking Gear

bottom of hiking shoes

What are the best walking and hiking boots or shoes?

  • Hiking boots must have a great fit. Test them at the store, and spend time moving around to ensure they don’t hurt anywhere and fit you well. You want to avoid being on a trail and discovering you bought the wrong shoe.

  • The best boots or shoes must have grooves for good traction when you hike on a slippery trail.

  • Lightweight boots or shoes.

  • Waterproof boots will keep your feet dry and happy.

  • The hiking boot’s outer soles must be thick so your feet are high from the ground. The cushion protects from uneven and harsh ground.

  • Supportive and soft insole for added protection. You may need to buy an insole for extra softness.

  • Your hiking boots can be ankle-length or lower. It doesn’t matter which one as long as you feel comfortable in your hiking boots.

  • Hiking boots or hiking shoes? This is personal! Sorry! You must try them on and see which one you like best. What are the best hiking socks?

    • The best socks for hiking are soft, thick socks.

    • Wear two socks if your socks are too thin or if you feel you need extra padding on your feet.

    • Breathable fabric: Merino wool or mixed yarns. (I LOVE merino wool for all seasons!)

    • Seamless socks

    • Be attentive! They cannot be too tight.

    • Waterproof socks for those of you who live in rainy parts of the world

    • Socks are an investment: Buy quality. Your feet will thank you.

    What are the best walking and hiking tops?

    • Lightweight, Breathable tops are essential for walking and hiking.

    • Tops with UV protection are a plus.

    • Long-sleeved T-shirts protect you from bugs and the sun. You can always roll up your sleeves when you get hot.

    • Oversized, comfy T-shirts are great but not sexy- they are cooler in the summer and easy to layer in the winter.

    • Layer tops and remove as it gets warmer, or add on as it gets colder during your hike.

    • Take a lightweight, waterproof jacket with a hood.

    What are the best pants (or trousers) for hiking?

    • Wear loose-fitting bottoms to have freedom of movement while you hike. Some people like to wear bottoms with pockets and fill them up with things- I like to keep my clothes light to move around efficiently.

    • Take a pair of lightweight, waterproof pants during your hike. You will be happy if it rains later during your hike.

    Don’t forget your hat!

    • Wide brim waterproof hat

    What is the best hiking backpack?

    • A small waterproof backpack is the best one to have on a walk or hike.

    • Lightweight.

    • A backpack with pockets all over the bag will provide for a good weight distribution.

    **Don’t get overwhelmed looking for hiking gear- Get the basics, go outdoors, and have fun.

Main picture: Hiking trip in Chapada dos Veadeiros, Brazil. My sister and me and our guide.

Marguerite Beaty, Blogger, Photographer & Artist

Welcome to the sunny side of life for women over 50! We aim to create a space where women feel empowered, supported, and inspired to lead their best lives after 50. Join our Instagram!

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