Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
Backpacking Forums
---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#168786 - 08/27/12 12:40 PM Age or just out of shape?
wandering_daisy Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I am getting older and was a bit concerned regarding my long trip this summer (40 days, about 240 miles, most off trail). At least for me, it turned out that aches and pains were primarily a function of being out of shape, not age. First week was a killer. Two-advil nights! Feet hurt; first one knee then the other hurt; strained right ankle; limping then strained left ankle. Back hurt, shoulders hurt, cracked skin from using trekking poles. Muscle cramps. Then, after 2 weeks my body just started healing itself. It is amazing how much more agile you get living off the ground for 40 days. For the last half of the trip, I hardly took a pain killer, nothing hurt, and was in the swing of hopping rocks like a dancer. My very small sleeping pad was comfortable. Never got a blister. Never felt better. I did loose 10 pounds which I really cannot afford to lose. But my 93-year old Mom did her best to fatten me up the last few days. Mom finally agreed to get a walker - she is now doing a mile a day outdoors- fastest person in a walker at her retirement home. So, do not blame "age" for all ills. No matter what your age- just keep on moving!

#168789 - 08/27/12 12:58 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: wandering_daisy]
billstephenson Offline

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
What an inspiring message!

My experiences with aches and pains and exercise is the same. I try to walk a couple miles a day at least 3-4 times a week for a couple weeks before I take off for even a short trip and it's amazing to me how fast my legs, lungs, and overall stamina improve.

My granny, like your mom, was a lifetime walker. She didn't stop until she was about 90, and then only because the nursing home she was in wouldn't let off the grounds.

I've been sitting on my ass coding all Summer this year and I'm really going to need to knock the rust off this season. T-minus 60 days and counting!

"You want to go where?"

#168793 - 08/27/12 04:58 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: wandering_daisy]
oldranger Offline

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Young lady, I think you are absolutely correct. The daily bicycle ride has been my salvation lately.

#168800 - 08/27/12 09:59 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: wandering_daisy]
Glenn Roberts Online   content

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2011
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Great post! Haven't been as active as you, but I find the same thing: working past the aches and pains really seems to help.

#168802 - 08/27/12 10:58 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: wandering_daisy]
aimless Online   content

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3186
Loc: Portland, OR
I agree with the 'keep moving' advice, but I also find that it takes longer than ever for the conditioning to kick in and for me to get over that hump from being kind of in shape to being in good shape.

#168817 - 08/28/12 01:40 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: wandering_daisy]
BrianLe Offline

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I must spend too much time on facebook lately, as I'm wishing I had a "like" button to click for this post.
Brian Lewis

#168825 - 08/28/12 05:48 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: BrianLe]
Abnrml1 Offline

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 14
Loc: IL
Thanks for this post. I have been going back and forth on getting started. I feel that most of my aches and pains will diminish if I just get off my butt and start but my wife feels different. I'm only 51 and I am tired of not living. Thanks again.

#168870 - 08/29/12 09:26 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: wandering_daisy]
hikerduane Offline

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Great summer Nancy. Not much off trail for me. It seems every year it is harder to get a day of bping in. Then I check my watch and I'm still doing good. Must be pushing myself too much. I need to get with some young 30 somethings to get me to slow down and take more breaks. At least this year I did not have to stop and soak my feet in the lake or creek to stop blisters.

#168918 - 09/01/12 12:36 AM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: hikerduane]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6764
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I'm really far behind after spending a good part of the spring and summer unable to hike due to plantar fasciitis. I seem to be over it now but am working up very gradually to avoid re-injury. Both I and my dog (almost the same age when you consider that 1 dog year = 7 human years) are really out of shape! We have finally worked up to one mile.... At least my achilles tendons are very flexible thanks to all the stretching I've been doing for the plantar fasciitis!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#168921 - 09/01/12 12:40 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: OregonMouse]
billstephenson Offline

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Glad to hear you're on the downhill side of that issue. If it's what I think it is, I've heard it can be pretty vicious, especially first thing in the morning.

One of my neighbors has to wear arch support inserts in his shoes. He said they were like walking on golf balls when he first got them, is this what you've been doing too?

"You want to go where?"

#168924 - 09/01/12 01:49 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: billstephenson]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6764
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Yes, I turned down the $800 prescription orthotics offered by a podiatrist (by the time I was able to get a GP appointment and a podiatrist referral I was so much better that I almost cancelled the appointment!) because I was doing fine with a combination of blue Superfeet and some heel inserts recommended by my eldest son (who got it in both feet while serving as a military attache in our embassy in Tajikistan). I also have green Superfeet but those are too thick in combination with the heel inserts (the combo raises my heel too high in the shoe). I hope that in a few more months I can use just the green Superfeet without the heel inserts. They do have the arch support just in front of the heel that I need, just not quite as much as the heel inserts.

I've been using a night splint, which reduces or eliminates morning heel pain by keeping the plantar fascia slightly stretched during the night. I never realized until this started that when we relax our muscles, our feet go into a semi-pointed toe position. This is why folks on the borderline between two sleeping bag sizes should go for the longer size unless they always sleep curled up in the fetal position--the pointing toes add an inch or two to your height when you're stretched out full length.

The most important part of the treatment has been lots of icing, lots of stretching and rest. These are the ones I've been doing. They really have helped! As mentioned, it took so long to get to see a podiatrist that these measures (all approved after the fact by the podiatrist) had already done most of the job.

I still have a few episodes of heel pain, but when I'm sitting rather than during or after walking. It's a warning that I need to keep on stretching!

I also bought a pair of New Balance motion control shoes (W1012) which, along with the Superfeet, really help with my pronation problems, which supposedly were a big part of the cause along with insufficient stretching before and after exercise. It's important to replace shoes frequently because the shock absorbing materials deteriorate, even if the shoe is not yet worn out. The New Balance SL-2 last fits me perfectly, providing the high and wide toe box, high arch and extra narrow heel that my weird feet require. It's too bad that their insoles are so flimsy; they used to have a much more supportive insole. I ditched their insoles and replaced them with the Superfeet. Unfortunately, NB does not use the SL-2 last for any of their trail runners. However, they are now using a more corrugated sole for their regular running shoes, so I hope I'll be able to use the 1012's for hiking. I'll find out in a couple of weeks! I'm still walking laps in the park on the grass, probably being over-cautious.

Edited by OregonMouse (09/01/12 01:51 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#168982 - 09/04/12 11:53 AM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: OregonMouse]
skcreidc Offline

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
In this type of case, OM, you will only find out if you have not been patient enough (and the problem persists). Being overly cautious sounds smart to me.

#169187 - 09/10/12 02:00 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: wandering_daisy]
bobito9 Offline

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 408
Nice post! Thanks for sharing. I'm with with BrianLe: I searched around for my "like" button, too smile
I found it interesting that your aches started diminishing as the days went by. That isn't generally my experience, except that as my food gets eaten and my weight goes down, and I adjust to altitude, my body starts appreciating the fact. However, it's also the case that my trips are not for as many days as yours. I just did a 7 day and an 8 day, almost in succesion, but that is a rarity for me. But I do notice that a sense of lightness and balance and mental clarity develops over the course of a trip: maybe from using my mental and motor skills hopping talus and tree roots, or maybe just from the relaxation that comes from being in the wilderness.In any event, it relieves a lot of the feeling of difficulty that I start out with.

#170523 - 10/13/12 11:42 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: bobito9]
ndwoods Offline

Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 572
Loc: Santa Cruz CA, Sierra Hiker
Yep. Nice post. I always wondered....the aches and tightnesses are with me and tho I ride horses everyday and do barn chores, I just have the devil of a time getting real cardio and stretches in daily and I have felt that was the prob....your post makes me want to really try harder to get the exercise in!
_________________________ and

#187441 - 10/21/14 03:22 AM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: wandering_daisy]
billyjaxin Offline

Registered: 10/20/14
Posts: 5
240 miles of mostly off-trail sounds like you're doing pretty well! I agree that condition is more important than age. The kicker is that getting in shape takes more time and care as we get older. Especially with regard to joints. The combination of shortened range of movement and loss of elasticity leads to unexpected pulls. And it takes a long time to stretch out the offending tendons without re-injuring yourself.

One piece of inexpert advice I can offer: wind and strength improve quickly; connective tissue improves very slowly. Older people need to be patient while the joints and supporting tissues grow strong enough for the added load.
I think a good trainer is essential. Someone who specializes in older clients.

#187585 - 11/04/14 12:32 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: wandering_daisy]
Hillbilly Offline

Registered: 11/03/14
Posts: 13
Loc: Eastern Ozarks, S. Mo.
Y'all are inspiring! I'm 53 and 70 lbs overweight. I've spent way too much time waiting for a way to get back into bping, I did it as a kid and a younger man. I just ordered a pair of hiking shoes the other day, and plan to walk about 8 miles a day. I've done it once the other day and destroyed the insoles of a brand new pair of "athletic" shoes, hence the hikers. I do Physical therapy now for repair of a torn rotator. The PT is 4 miles from the house, so I'll walk there, do therapy then walk back.
I thought the wife would BP with me, but after 12 years, I know that's not going to happen. Like Abnrml1 I've waited too long to start living life. We need a thank you button on here.

#187654 - 11/10/14 05:26 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: Hillbilly]
JPete Offline

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
What an inspiring thread! Loved it, needed it. I'm another one in Grumpy Gord's age group, and I suspect I may be the cancer survivor mentioned by billstephenson in another thread. I've been at the daily walk (mile or two), trainor three times a week and some physical therapy and home exercises as well routine for about six months. I've been hiking with a slightly overweighted pack and on some rough trail for a mile or two late this summer. Did about three and a half in about an hour and a half the other day (but I confess it was mostly much easier trail). But it is coming. It just takes longer at this age, but don't give up just because it's a little rough when you start. WD is absolutely right about the healing that comes, and I'm looking forward to more if this remission holds. I'm back in Virginia now, so should have good weather for it. best, jcp

#199687 - 12/04/17 09:04 PM Re: Age or just out of shape? [Re: JPete]
EMT Dave Offline

Registered: 11/24/16
Posts: 65
Loc: MA
Staying fit is essential for quality of life as well as longevity.
I know, I am guilty too, but I do the gym when I can and try and keep a rational degree of fitness. Yes, I am still fat but I can still do 1.7 miles at a slow run on a strider or treadmill. I can also still do a 7 mile day on an easy trail. Harder trails obviously plummet my mileage.
When I cannot do the walks I want, I walk in the neighborhood with a pack stuffed with water bottle.
It is far too easy to sit around, mea magma culpa. The call of making a living and keeping my house up is always there, but when the time permits there is the gym and the trail.
I am not in the best shape, lord knows. I should be able to do 15 miles, not 7, but part of life is compromise with oneself. Still I try and you should too.

Edited by EMT Dave (12/04/17 09:05 PM)


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Replacing a 2002 Mountain Hardware Tent
by Loquinho
08/21/21 01:35 PM
Boil in a bottle?
by DustinV
07/23/21 06:29 PM
Can't find a tent for me and the Mrs.
by edfardos
04/26/16 05:19 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Do You Bring Booze on your Backpacking Trips?
by Ian Campbell
08/09/16 05:49 PM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Carrying My Dog LOL
by Hey
07/07/21 09:20 PM
Featured Photos
Spiderco Chaparral Pocketknife
David & Goliath
Also Testing
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 44 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Keirv87, nmjhyu, Paul Devil, Loquinho, Ted J Forema
13061 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Affiliate Disclaimer: This forum is an affiliate of,, R.E.I. and others. The product links herein are linked to their sites. If you follow these links to make a purchase, we may get a small commission. This is our only source of support for these forums. Thanks.!

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum