Hiking when you are overweight

I love hiking, but due to me working fulltime & not being able to get up to the mountains much, i don't really get to hike but maybe 4 times a year. I am 90 lbs. overweight, and 54 yrs. old, my husband is 14 yrs. older than me, but he is not overweight, so he does this hiking well, i never had any health problems, but over the last couple years, my blood pressure is creeping up on me a little, it's borderline, and bad cholesterol is 13 pts too high. I've never had any trouble hiking carrying my extra weight till last weekend. I kinda been under alot of anxiety & stress. I have anxiety. Last weekend, we went to a local mountain to do a 1 mile hike up to the summit. We had to drive a hour drive, plus drive another hour on a long winding dirtroad to get to the trailhead parking lot. My anxiety was increasing as we got there. I noticed my heart was hurting some going up the steep steady incline, but when we stopped to rest & drink water, it subsided. After we done the trail & came back down, my chest/heart was hurting, numbness in my left arm, neck hurting, headache, heart rate was up. I thought i was getting ready to have a stroke or heart attack. I went to a urgent care, they did a ECG, urine sample, chest xray, all checked out good. No sign of heart attack or stroke. Blood pressure was 144/88, (borderline they said). Doctor said i just overdone myself. And since i not been working out at home, it was harder n my body to do strenuous hikes. He said get to exrcising at home, get used to that, & do less strenuous hikes & work my way up to more strenuous hikes. And diet & loose weight. Any thoughts?

Replies

  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,925 Member
    Maybe stick to flat hikes like in river valleys for a while, and return to the summits once you've improved your fitness a bit.
  • ItsSlimpossible12
    ItsSlimpossible12 Posts: 127 Member
    I agree with everyone else ^. Work your way up to something so strenuous.

    Also, keep in mind that sometimes having a panic attack can feel like you are having a heart attack so your building anxiety may have just overflowed on top of your body straining from the hike. I'm glad that your blood work showed no signs of a heart attack or stroke, but getting a hold on that anxiety would probably be helpful too. Good luck!
  • AmandaDanceMore
    AmandaDanceMore Posts: 298 Member
    Walk at home, slowly building up time/distance. So easy/short hikes when you can, gradually biking up the distance, etc.

    There's no reason you can't hike overweight, but if you're not fit and used to at least walking a couple of miles, a mile hike up a mountain can be really difficult. Be kind to yourself by working your way up!
  • Arielnesika
    Arielnesika Posts: 87 Member
    That sounds like a scary experience, so it's great that it wasn't anything serious. I'm in agreement with the above posters, and I'm also in the same boat. I've started hiking and walking in the hills as my primary way of working out. When I started in Feb, I was over 100 pounds overweight and during the first little hike, I had the feeling that I was going to blackout and felt like I might die. Since then, I've been relieved at how much easier it's getting already. Not easy! But better. Find a good slope neared to you and practice!
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,396 Member
    Find time during your day, either before work, during lunch, before supper or after supper to walk every day. Start slow and easy, then gradually increase to a nice brisk pace (whatever that means for you.) As you get more fit, start looking for hilly areas to walk. The more fit you are the more you will enjoy hiking when you get the chance to do it. You may also find that the walking helps with your anxiety and stress.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,925 Member
    This map, from a local trip report, shows that overweight people can in fact hike up mountains.

    3571958552_4530f12b59_b.jpg
  • lkpducky
    lkpducky Posts: 14,436 Member
    At least there aren't any mountain lions (or are there?) We've got 'em in the Santa Monica Mountains, and one intrepid cat made it to downtown Santa Monica.
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    Your doctor's advice sounds on the spot to me. Just keep working at it bit by bit.
  • fitmama282
    fitmama282 Posts: 36 Member
    Last June, we did the Chimney Tops trail in the great smoky mtns. It was uphill all the way because it was only 2 miles to the summit from the parking lot. I did fine that day, but i was not stressed either. In June of 2015 I did a Whopping 11 mile round trip on Gregory Bald trail in the smoky mtns. It was tough, as being my first long hike, it was 5.5 miles up to the summit & it was uphill all the way. I did fine that day too, but i think since i have anxiety and stress, it might be harder on me or my body is going thru changes, maybe my heart is getting weaker since i don't exercise. I bought me a heart rate monitor, the wrist kind (a cheaper version of the fitbit) to help me keep track of my heart rate when i am exercising or out walking or hiking.
  • TimothyFish
    TimothyFish Posts: 4,925 Member
    Do some stair climbing at home. There is a lot of similarly between climbing stairs and hiking.
  • fitmama282
    fitmama282 Posts: 36 Member
    Do some stair climbing at home. There is a lot of similarly between climbing stairs and hiking.

    I have an Elliptical machine. Will that work?
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,925 Member
    fitmama282 wrote: »
    Last June, we did the Chimney Tops trail in the great smoky mtns. It was uphill all the way because it was only 2 miles to the summit from the parking lot. I did fine that day, but i was not stressed either. In June of 2015 I did a Whopping 11 mile round trip on Gregory Bald trail in the smoky mtns. It was tough, as being my first long hike, it was 5.5 miles up to the summit & it was uphill all the way. I did fine that day too, but i think since i have anxiety and stress, it might be harder on me or my body is going thru changes, maybe my heart is getting weaker since i don't exercise. I bought me a heart rate monitor, the wrist kind (a cheaper version of the fitbit) to help me keep track of my heart rate when i am exercising or out walking or hiking.

    Reading between the lines, it might be a good idea for you to invest in a PLB. I don't know what it's like in your neck of the woods, but I'd guess it's like mine. If you hit the SOS button, the cavalry will come for you. They'll be volunteers and you won't be charged. (Of course, you really really really don't want to do this.)

    It won't happen, of course. But if you're suffering from anxiety and worried that you might be having a heart attack, the funny thing about anxiety is that sometimes knowing there's a way out is enough to calm things down.
  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 21,221 Member
    fitmama282 wrote: »
    IAnd since i not been working out at home, it was harder n my body to do strenuous hikes. He said get to exrcising at home, get used to that, & do less strenuous hikes & work my way up to more strenuous hikes. And diet & loose weight. Any thoughts?

    Your Dr is right.

    Go for walks every day.
    Walk as part of your commute.
    Walk at lunch.
    Walk after work with your husband.
    Incorporate walking into your daily activities ... park at the far end of the parking lots when you go shopping, park in one place and walk to all the different shops several blocks away, etc.

    Take the stairs every time that's an option.
    If you work in a multistorey building, take the stairs when you arrive at work. Get up in the middle of the morning and go climb some stairs. Take the stairs when you get back from your lunchtime walk. Get up in the middle of the afternoon and go climb some stairs.

    Climb hills in your local area ... include all the hills you can find in your walks. And stairs too.


    If you've got an elliptical machine at home, do that for 30 min each evening that you don't go outside for a walk.

  • omakase619
    omakase619 Posts: 226 Member
    I think anxiety made the symptoms feel worse.. Know your limits and get yourself in better shape. Those symptoms might have felt like a horrible nightmare but it's a blessing in disguise because now you know that you got to get yourself in better shape. Op start slow build endurance and hit that trail again.



  • LeoT0917
    LeoT0917 Posts: 206 Member
    fitmama282 wrote: »
    I love hiking, but due to me working fulltime & not being able to get up to the mountains much, i don't really get to hike but maybe 4 times a year. I am 90 lbs. overweight, and 54 yrs. old, my husband is 14 yrs. older than me, but he is not overweight, so he does this hiking well, i never had any health problems, but over the last couple years, my blood pressure is creeping up on me a little, it's borderline, and bad cholesterol is 13 pts too high. I've never had any trouble hiking carrying my extra weight till last weekend. I kinda been under alot of anxiety & stress. I have anxiety. Last weekend, we went to a local mountain to do a 1 mile hike up to the summit. We had to drive a hour drive, plus drive another hour on a long winding dirtroad to get to the trailhead parking lot. My anxiety was increasing as we got there. I noticed my heart was hurting some going up the steep steady incline, but when we stopped to rest & drink water, it subsided. After we done the trail & came back down, my chest/heart was hurting, numbness in my left arm, neck hurting, headache, heart rate was up. I thought i was getting ready to have a stroke or heart attack. I went to a urgent care, they did a ECG, urine sample, chest xray, all checked out good. No sign of heart attack or stroke. Blood pressure was 144/88, (borderline they said). Doctor said i just overdone myself. And since i not been working out at home, it was harder n my body to do strenuous hikes. He said get to exrcising at home, get used to that, & do less strenuous hikes & work my way up to more strenuous hikes. And diet & loose weight. Any thoughts?

    I'm a little surprised that nobody has asked or mentioned this, but are you seeing a therapist to address your anxiety?
  • omakase619
    omakase619 Posts: 226 Member
    LeoT0917 wrote: »
    fitmama282 wrote: »
    I love hiking, but due to me working fulltime & not being able to get up to the mountains much, i don't really get to hike but maybe 4 times a year. I am 90 lbs. overweight, and 54 yrs. old, my husband is 14 yrs. older than me, but he is not overweight, so he does this hiking well, i never had any health problems, but over the last couple years, my blood pressure is creeping up on me a little, it's borderline, and bad cholesterol is 13 pts too high. I've never had any trouble hiking carrying my extra weight till last weekend. I kinda been under alot of anxiety & stress. I have anxiety. Last weekend, we went to a local mountain to do a 1 mile hike up to the summit. We had to drive a hour drive, plus drive another hour on a long winding dirtroad to get to the trailhead parking lot. My anxiety was increasing as we got there. I noticed my heart was hurting some going up the steep steady incline, but when we stopped to rest & drink water, it subsided. After we done the trail & came back down, my chest/heart was hurting, numbness in my left arm, neck hurting, headache, heart rate was up. I thought i was getting ready to have a stroke or heart attack. I went to a urgent care, they did a ECG, urine sample, chest xray, all checked out good. No sign of heart attack or stroke. Blood pressure was 144/88, (borderline they said). Doctor said i just overdone myself. And since i not been working out at home, it was harder n my body to do strenuous hikes. He said get to exrcising at home, get used to that, & do less strenuous hikes & work my way up to more strenuous hikes. And diet & loose weight. Any thoughts?

    I'm a little surprised that nobody has asked or mentioned this, but are you seeing a therapist to address your anxiety?

    I use to suffer from anxiety but as soon as I got it better shape and more active the anxiety went away. Anxiety attacks are the worse it really feels like you're dying.