Travel Fitness and Wellness on Small Group Tours
12 Dec 20 · 6 mins read
Travel Fitness and Wellness on Small Group Tours
We at Odyssey Traveller regularly organise small-group educational tours for seniors, and in addition to articles about our favourite destinations, we also publish health and travel tips for older adults. We have published a large collection of articles related to being travel fit and staying well while on holiday, which we will share here, but first we begin with a discussion of a helpful article recently published on The Guardian.
Boosting Your Immune System
The article is called “How to boost your immune system to avoid colds and coronavirus” and features interviews with medical experts. You may want to click through to read the full article, but here are some bullet points, derived from the article and with additional links to resources, to keep in mind:
- Our own body has an “armoury” of defences, mucus and microbes that stop pathogens from getting in, and white blood cells or immune cells to deal with the pathogens in case they breach these defences.
- “We live in a symbiotic relationship with our gut bacteria” or microbiome. The microbiome likes fibre, so eat a varied diet with food high in fibre. The more plant foods you consume, the better.
- The microbiome also likes fermented food, so consider adding food such as kefir yoghurt and pickles (such as sauerkraut or kimchi) in your diet.
- Exercise mobilises our white blood cells through increased blood flow, so regular exercise can help strengthen our immune system.
- “The advice for older people, who are more vulnerable to infection, is to do whatever exercise is possible.”
The Australian Department of Health has the following advice for adults, age 18-64:
- Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
The Guardian article quotes the NHS, which says examples of moderate activity include brisk walking, riding a bike, and dancing, while vigorous activity include running, swimming fast, and an aerobics class.
- Stress hormones can negatively affect the immune system, as does heavy drinking.
- Vitamin C is water soluble and is not stored by the body. It is still better to eat fruits and vegetables daily.
- Get the flu vaccine.
- The coronavirus is mostly spread by droplet transmission (through coughing, sneezing, or talking), so good hygiene is key.
Health Tips for Mature Aged or Senior Travellers
We run several hiking and walking tours for mature aged or senior travellers and have written and published articles with tips for our present and future small group tour participants. Please feel free to share these with your loved ones.
We experience a lot of physical and mental changes as we grow older, but one of the most insidious of these changes is a common condition called sarcopenia (from the Greek roots sarx “flesh” and penia “poverty”), or age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass.
Our body has three types of muscle tissue:
- visceral, or the muscle found in internal organs;
- cardiac, or the muscle only found in the heart;
- and skeletal, the muscles attached to our bones that we can consciously control.
The decline in skeletal muscle mass begins at the age of 30, accelerates at the age of 40, and increases dramatically with every decade of life. According to a study cited by the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the prevalence of sarcopenia jumped from 4% of men and 3% of women aged 70 to 75, to 16% of men and 13% of women aged 85 and older.
In this article, we will discuss ways in which to treat your mind and body, ensuring you remain travel fit and enjoy your time as a mature-aged or senior traveller. We are inspired to prepare this article as a number of travellers in their late 80s and early 90s continue to travel and explore with us, even going on some of our more rigorous walking tours!
Is 60 the new 40? When can you classify yourself as being ‘old’ rather than ‘middle aged’? The truth is, the older you get, the further you distance your self from being considered ‘old’ and all of the stereotypes that are associated with it. On average, people feel 20% younger than they are (Horovitz 2019). So, the older you get, the larger disparity between your chronological age and the age you feel. And this disparity is further widened when we maintain healthy lifestyles. With healthy habits, you may not notice the number of years go by as quickly as someone else might.
What are the ways to stay fit and ‘young’? Scientists studying the reasons behind people reaching past the age of 100 turn to Italy, specifically the region of Liguria, which has “the largest proportion of centenarians (almost 650) in relation to the population size”, according to a 2019 article by The Guardian. Liguria’s capital, Genoa, has 288 centenarians, majority of them women. Experts point to a variety of factors that contribute to their longevity: a diet of fish, pasta, and fresh vegetables, a warm climate, and a lot of walking.
For women, especially older adults, choosing the right walking shoes has repercussions beyond fashion. A study in 2005 showed that “incorrectly fitting footwear is common in older people and is strongly associated with forefoot pathology and foot pain.” The study identified foot pain and deformity in 176 people (aged 62 to 96 years), 120 of whom were women, and found that the women “wore shoes that were shorter, narrower and had a reduced total area compared to their feet than men.” Wearing shoes that are narrower than your foot is associated with corns, foot pain, and foot deformity. A 2017 study stresses that “between 20 and 45% of women aged over 65 years of age will develop one or more foot problems, which, although not specific to older women, are more common in that age group than in younger women.” The study also points to inappropriate footwear as one of the causes.
Foot problems will negatively impact your mobility and independence, and the incorrect footwear can cause you to trip, fall, and suffer injury. It can also exacerbate already existing health problems, such as arthritis in the knees and hip. Odyssey Traveller organises numerous walking tours and we are advocates of choosing and using the right footwear—you can click here to read an article we’ve published previously about choosing the right shoes and socks to bring when you travel.
In this article we will give advice to help women choose the right pair for various activities, and look at the health benefits of hiking.
Why walk? Because walking tours are a great way to access sites off the beaten track. Exploring on foot gives you access to more authentic experiences, as you enjoy sights and experiences usually reserved for locals. Discovering a new country through walking gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment. Moreover, it is great for your fitness and will make you feel alive! Meet and chat with people, see more, and have your physical work rewarded with secrets you can only uncover from the ground.
Odyssey Traveller offers walking tours designed especially for senior and mature travellers. Suitable for couples and singles, they are tailored toward varying levels of fitness and are flexible. So, if you would prefer to spend an afternoon sipping tea and watching the world go by, you can rejoin the rest of the small group later. Walking tours are fully mapped out, designed to maximise experience, and are guided by people in the know. Discover the world at a slower pace and get your feet dirty!
- A Note Regarding the Coronavirus from Odyssey Traveller
- Selecting Shoes and Socks: Advice for Mature Travellers
- How to Prepare for a Walking Holiday – 10 Tips
- Advice for mature-aged solo travellers
- Older Travellers; Travel in your 80’s and beyond
- How to choose your next small group adventure
- Happy ageing! Advice for the over-50s
- Packing Advice for Odyssey Traveller’s Small Group Tours
- Mature Travellers Footwear and Clothing Tips
- Travel Tips for Senior Travellers Part 1 and Part 2
- Security on Your Odyssey Traveller tour
You can see all our hiking and walking tours through this link.
Refreshed December 2020.
18 daysMay, Sep
Channel Islands | A small group walking tour for seniors
Visiting Channel Islands
From A$12,650 AUDView Tour
22 daysJun, Sep
Rural Britain | Walking Small Group Tour
A walking tour into England, Scotland and Wales provides small group journeys with breathtaking scenery to destinations such as Snowdonia national park , the UNESCO world heritage site Hadrians wall and the lake district. each day tour provides authentic experiences often off the beaten path from our local guides.
From A$13,750 AUDView Tour
Exploring Wales on foot : small group walking tours for seniors
A Walking tour of Wales with spectacular views across as you walk the millennial path across the Irish sea or up in Snowdonia national park. This guided tour that provides insight into the history of each castle visited and breathtaking scenery enjoyed before exploring the capital of Wales, Cardiff with day tours of Wales from Cardiff. For seniors, couples or Solo interested in small groups.
From A$8,995 AUDView Tour
13 daysJun, Aug
Scotland's Great Trails Walking Tour
An escorted walking tour of Scotland. This trip is mainly in the Scottish Highlands. Your tour leader guides you to Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond and Craignorms National park with experienced local guides. The tour for mature couples and solo travellers finishes in Edinburgh with time to visit Edinburgh Castle and the Royal mile a UNESCO World heritage site.
From A$9,250 AUDView Tour
19 daysJun, Sep
Saint James Way Small Group Walking Tour (The Camino)- Spain
Visiting Portugal, Spain
Experience pleasant sections of the Way of Saint James, crossing some of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes. We follow the pilgrims on easy distances of The Way to the mythical destination, Santiago de Compostella. Not since the middle ages has this adventure for body and mind been more popular. We also get to discover the artistic highlights and rich history of Northern Spain and Portugal, as well as enjoying local wines and exquisite food.
From A$11,850 AUDView Tour
France on Foot | Small Group Walking Tours France
From A$16,750 AUDView Tour