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Meenakshi Gupta at Kedarkantha Summit
If you thought trekking/hiking is not everyone’s cup of tea after the age of 40, you are wrong. It’s you, who has to break this myth as I did. Let’s face it, life is busiest for most women in their 40’s.
The kids are growing up, your career is at its peak, if you are working, or family commitments are becoming more overwhelming if you are a homemaker.
The body goes through a biological change, fitness levels are sliding, mood swings, and the list is endless. But should all these deter your wish to trek or hike especially if you’ve never done it?
Well, I would say NO. I started hiking/trekking after the age of 40 and did my solo trek in Himachal Pradesh last year.
If you are a woman over the age of 40 and want to start trekking, just do it! Trust me once you start, there is no looking back. Nowadays, there are lots of companies who organise treks/hikes especially for women above 40 years of age. If you have friends willing to join, pull them along. And if not, I assure you, you will make amazing new friends.
With the awareness created by various communities, tour organisers, social groups, a lot of women are scaling up to their passion to hike even if it is a day trek of smaller altitudes. I recently conducted a survey on women above the age of 40 who started hiking/trekking after 40 or are keen on starting one.
The survey included a lawyer, entrepreneurs, teachers, journalist, travel designers, homemakers, IT professionals among others. They were asked questions related to their personal interests and what they look forward to in trekking.
Rupa at Chadar Trek
Fifty one percent of the women surveyed were above the age of 50 and 49 percent between 40 and 50. It was encouraging to see women above 50 want to start trekking without any inhibitions. They say the pressure of home and work responsibilities is lesser now. 76 percent of the women surveyed were from Bangalore and rest from Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Chennai.
Of the total responses 57.9 percent women said they are fitness freaks and ready for any kind of hike or trek. And the rest of them are making fitness as a part of their routine. Of all the responses, 31.6 percent women exercise 6-7 days a week, 26.3 percent do it five days and 42.1 percent exercise four days a week.
This indicates how fitness-conscious women are. Almost sixty four percent women said they are inspired by friends or family members who started trekking after the age of 40. And 21.1 percent were inspired by younger friends who trekked. The others found their inspiration from posts on social media by trekking companies.
Fifty eight percent of women see magic in mountains that motivated them to trek. And 31.6 percent of women believe trekking gives them happiness and relaxes their mind. Around 10.5 percent women see trekking as a great workout.
In order to ensure their safety, 52.6 percent women would like to trek as a group with family or friends, while 42.1 percent want to travel with companies and make new friends. Others want to travel with only women groups or solo.
About the altitude of a trek, as a beginner 73.7 % of women started their first trek with small altitudes/ day treks, 15.8 % of women started with 5-7 days of high altitude while others with 2-3 days of medium difficulty level treks.
Sudha mani at Everest Base Camp 1
Asima Sultana at Valley of Flowers at 55 years
Talking about personal hygiene like availability of washrooms etc, 47.4% of women are comfortable with everything available at the campsites while 31.6% of women are particular about the washrooms and 21.1% of women had a reservation in trekking during menstruation.
47.4% of women do not mind rustic and low budget treks while 36.8% women look for high budget or treks from reputed companies for the comfort and security reasons while 15.8% of the women book their treks with online portals.
68.4% of women choose their treks by referrals from family and friends, 21.1% of women search or see posts on Social media while only 10.5% of women search on google.
About the group size, they wish to travel with, 42.1% of women are comfortable with 8 or more members in a group while 31.6% and 26.3% with the group size of 5-6 and 6-8 respectively.
To name a few, Rupa Pravin a Town Planner recently did Chadar Trek in Zanskar at the age of 48 and Valley of Flowers at 50. Sudha, an IT professional did her Everest Base Camp along with other pilgrimages in the region at the age of 53. Monalisa Deb, a designer, 50 and Soma Bolar Manager at Multinational company, 44 together did Kedarkantha winter Trek recently. Asima Sultana, 55 a homemaker did Valley of Flowers last year and Tasneem Jiruwala, also a grandmother is a regular trekker.
There are several short treks from Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Chennai. Few treks of smaller heights and ideal for 2-3 days can be considered for beginners. Inputs are given by Vini Katyal of Treks Unlimited, a young girl in her 20’s who is a passionate trekker and encourage women for hiking.
There are few Himalayan treks which can be done even after the age of 40 with the preparation of course. Any trek within 10000- 12000 feet can be done provided you maintain your fitness level high. The list mentioned is comprehensive and not exhaustive. Few Himalayan Treks are listed below based on the experiences of fellow 40 plus women trekkers.
Trekking after 40 may seem daunting to many, it is nothing a proper workout routine can’t help! There is endless beauty across the country, lurking in the remotest forest, or under sheets of snow and leaves.
Image Source: Travel News
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With 23 years of experience in teaching, Marketing and as an Editor of a travel
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