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Hiking Tips: Explore the Junction & Breakwater Trail

Walking is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular events, and there’s no better way to enjoy the great outdoors walking than taking a hike. Seniors who regularly hike trails like Junction & Breakwater Trail in Delaware may achieve the following health benefits:

  • Better circulation and cardiovascular health
  • Less knee and joint pain and fewer chances of developing arthritis
  • Improved bone density
  • Better reaction time and reduced fall risk
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Fewer depressive episodes and better social connections

The Junction & Breakwater Trail is popular for seniors because it’s easily accessible near the Cape Henlopen State Park’s western edge, only minutes away from The Moorings at Lewes.

The 4.5-mile-long trail is a moderate-difficulty hike that takes you through a variety of landscapes, including forests, fields, and wetlands. The terrain is relatively flat, with some gentle inclines and declines, and it is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. It’s well-marked and easy to follow, with a wide, gravel surface that is easy to walk on.

As you hike the trail, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, rabbits, and deer. You’ll also have the chance to explore an old railroad bed, abandoned quarries, and a historic lighthouse.

The Junction & Breakwater Trail is a great place to spend a few hours enjoying the outdoors and getting some exercise. It’s a popular destination for hikers, runners, and nature lovers, and a great place to take a leisurely stroll or a more strenuous hike.

Hiking tips for seniors

If you’re new to hiking, here are some tips to make exploring the Junction & Breakwater Trail more rewarding.

  • Check the route before you head out

Non-technical trails like the Junction & Breakwater Trail are relatively easy to follow. Still, you want to look at the trail map before you head out to make sure you always know where you’re going and how long the trail is. Use apps like AllTrails to help you navigate and stay on track. If you don’t want to use an app, it’s a good idea to take a photo of the trail map for later reference.

  • Hike with a partner

It’s always a good idea to have a hiking buddy. It makes the hike more fun because you’ll enjoy some good conversation, and it’s safer too. Even on well-marked trails in well-populated areas, it’s possible to get turned around. Having someone with you means you’ll never be alone.

Consider joining a local hiking group if you need someone to hike with. These groups meet once a week (sometimes more) and explore trails throughout the area. You can find local hiking groups on Meetup or Facebook.

  • Tell someone where you’re going

Sometimes it’s impossible to hike with a partner or a large group. Does this mean you shouldn’t go hiking? Not at all. You just want to take some extra precautions. The most important thing to do when hiking solo is always to let someone know where you’re going and how long you plan to hike.

If you have an app that tracks your location, ask your friends or family to download it, so they know your location. Not everyone is comfortable having these apps on their phone because they don’t want their loved ones always checking up on them. That’s understandable. If you feel this way, choose an app that lets you turn location permissions on and off, and only turn your permissions on when you’re hiking.

  • Dress for the weather

Hiking the Junction & Breakwater Trail isn’t the same as hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, where the weather can take a turn at a moment’s notice. Still, you want to check the weather forecast before you head out the door and dress appropriately. If you’re hiking in the winter, wear layers and layer them like this:

  • Tight Dri-FIT, sweat-wicking top
  • Looser cotton top
  • Insulated vest or jacket

Layering allows you to remove items as you heat up. Many first-time hikers are surprised to find out how fast they warm up, even on a winter hike.

Wear loose-fitting clothes and a hat to protect your face from the sun when hiking in warmer temperatures, and remember the sunscreen.

  • Stay hydrated

Always make sure you stay hydrated no matter what time of the year it is when hiking. Consider purchasing a hiking bag that is large enough to insert a water bladder with a drinking tube. You can fit as much as three liters of water in the bladders, and they’re an excellent option for keeping your hands free while hiking.

Staying fit is essential to healthy aging

According to a National Library of Medicine Report, “older adults with low levels of physical activity (PA) have increased risk for cardiovascular disease, glucose intolerance, poor vital capacity, low muscular strength and decreased bone mass.” While there are many ways to stay active, hiking is a preferred activity among seniors because it’s engaging, connects one to nature, and doesn’t require a significant financial investment.

If you haven’t explored the Junction & Breakwater Trail, what are you waiting for? Lace your sneakers or hiking boots up and get outside!

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