Travel Fitness and Wellness on Small Group Tours

Being Travel fit for mature and senior travellers remains an important element of enjoying a small group tour. This page shares tips about diet, solo travel, packing tips and footwear to help you plan you vacation to Europe, United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand for example.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  3. 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.
  4. Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.

Travel in your 80s Senior travellers Seniors Travel

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.

Continue reading.

Older travellers advice for seniors 70's and over

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.

Continue reading.

Women's walking shoes

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.

Continue reading.

Couple Walking Odyssey Traveller

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!

Continue reading.

senior running on the beach

Further Links

You can see all our hiking and walking tours through this link.

Refreshed December 2020.

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