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Take a hike!

happy senior couple hiking up mountain

Looking for an active getaway that’s relaxing and energizing at the same time? Explore a wilderness trail, hike to a waterfall, walk along the beach, or just get off the beaten path. It’s good for your mind and your body. The American Cancer Society recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (such as hiking or backpacking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (such as hiking uphill or with a heavy pack) every week, preferably spread throughout the week.

Before you go, check with your health care provider to make sure you’re healthy enough for the activity. It’s also a good idea to do research about what kind of weather and terrain you can expect. Keep in mind these safety tips from the National Park Service:

  • Bring a map of the route you plan to take and the surrounding area. Find out if you need a permit. Stay on established routes.
  • Have the right equipment, including boots, tent, and sleeping bag designed for the conditions you’ll likely encounter.
  • Bring extra dry clothing.  If your clothes get wet, even during hot weather, you can develop hypothermia; that’s a condition where your body loses heat faster than it produced, causing dangerously low body temperatures.
  • Always hike with another person. Let someone not on the trip know your plans and when you expect to be back.
  • Know whom to contact in an emergency and what to do if you’re in an area without cell service. Bring along a signal mirror as a backup communication device.
  • Drink plenty of water, and filter or treat all water.
  • Find out about pests like insects or poison ivy that may live where you’re hiking. Learn how to identify and avoid them.
  • Bring along a first aid kit and a flashlight, even in daytime in case you’re out longer than you’d planned.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.