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Happy Trails: As The Seasons Turn
September 22, 2012

September 2012: A Note From Diane

Howdy, Hiker!

In this month's newsletter, I've got a question, a survey, and some good news for women hikers heading into middle age.

But before I get to those, I'd like to wish you a "Happy Season Turning" month.

If you're in the Northern hemisphere, we're sliding toward the cold, dark days. Not necessarily a bad thing!!

Fall hiking lets you see Mother Earth's bare bones and contours.

Animals are easier to spot as they prepare for Winter.

And the crisp temperatures are conducive to a steady hiking rhythm on the trail.

So embrace the change....

And speaking of "the change"....

Changes in Hip Bone Mineral Density in Middle Aged Women

I read this study yesterday and thought it had a great message for women ages 35-45 years:

Changes in Hip Bone Mineral Density & Objectively Measured Physical Activity in Middle-Aged Women: A 6-Year Prospective Study.

In a nutshell, it pays to stay active as you're approaching menopause and coming out the other side.

OK, so define "active".

The authors found that women with higher levels of physical activity per week (but not necessarily higher intensity of activity) not only held onto bone mineralization but actually increased it.

Women in the "moderate physical activity and intensity" category walked slowly to briskly (3-4 mph) for 150 minutes per week. Sounds like hikers, to me!

This study design is a strong one, because it enrolled 268 women and then checked back on them 6 years later. They successfully contacted 244 all those years later, which is a great follow-up rate.

And get this: the gains in hip BMD appeared to be independent of age, baseline hip BMD and body weight, family history of osteoporosis, average daily calcium and vitamin D intake. More mineralization was related to more exercise!

A concerning limitation of the study: mostly white females living in the Mountain West, so the results aren't widely generalizable to all hiking females.

However, after reading this study, I'm more committed than ever to getting the word out about hiking to young women. Get active, and stay active, to keep your bones strong!

Fashion Design and Hiking?

OK, that takes care of the good news.

Now on to the survey.

I received a letter from a young woman asking for help:

"My name is Patricia and I am currently developing a final line for my 4th year Fashion Design program. I go to Kwantlen University in Vancouver, BC.

I am contacting you hoping you would be able to help me out a bit. The line I am creating is for backpacking and the clothing will all be designed around wearing a pack. I am looking for women 25-35 who are avid hikers/backpackers. Is there any way you could post anything about this on your website? I do have a simple survey that could be filled out."

So here's the link to her short survey:link no longer available

Question for You: Do Compression Socks Help Hikers?

Recently, I found myself sitting in an office waiting for an appointment.

Usually I bring a book or some work with me, but this time I was forced to pick up a magazine from the coffee table.

And I'm glad I did!

I found an article about compression socks and marathon runners, which got me to thinking about their usage for backpackers.

I'll be researching the pros and cons of compression socks in order to add a page or two to my website, but I'd really like some feedback from someone who uses them.

Please drop me a line if you have a strong opinion one way or the other. Thanks in advance!

That's all she wrote this time!

I hope the waning light of the season isn't correlated to waning interest in hiking. There's lots of trail time to be had before the snow flies, just pack extra clothes and maybe a thermos of hot tea.

From me to you,

Happy Trails always.

-Diane a.k.a. Happy Hiker

Questions about hiking? Comments about what you just read? Suggestions for future topics? I'd love to hear them! Use any of the Contact boxes at
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