Hiking is the Center of My Universe
This admonition comes from a place of extreme prejudice. In many ways, hiking is the center of my universe. Certainly for seven months of the year. So even if there were negatives associated with this activity, I would reject them immediately. So in this inaugural post, I will outline some excellent reasons to do what I say TO STAY ON OFFENSE and GO HIKING!
First, it is a strong example of staying on offense. When you climb mountains you are moving forward with the effort. Any kind of movement is good for us, but moving uphill on uneven ground taxes the body in such a way that it builds resilience. Like any form of exercise, you need to do it regularly. During my seven months “season” I climb a mountain every week (that doesn’t mean I skip my other training at the gym). Usually, after the first three weeks of the season, my body adjusts.
Are You in Your Twenties?
If you are in your twenties you might ask why it takes me so long to “adjust.” However, I am in my seventies and it just does. If you are in your seventies or younger you need to know that your body can adjust. You have bad knees (so do I). Bad back? (so do I).
Do the mobility work at the gym so you can get up the mountain on the weekend.
Second, you are doing something for your soul. How often are you alone with your creator? Where it is so quiet you can hear your heart beating? When I am on a mountain I feel my God surrounding me. Try it!
Third, it is a relatively inexpensive activity. For some of you, this is important. It is much less expensive than flying, skiing or golf. You might spend some money for gas to get to the mountain and a little more for the state or national forest passes. Then some basic gear. But once you have those in place you are good to go unless of course, you decide to take on the Seven Summits. That is a whole other thing.
Fourth, it impacts your health. More and more evidence points to the importance of immersing yourself in nature. Look at what the state of New York says about it:
Health Benefits From Forests boosts the immune system. lowers blood pressure. reduces stress. improves mood. increases ability to focus, even in children with ADHD. accelerates recovery from surgery or illness. increases energy level. improves sleep.
Let me give you a personal example of this.
For many years I suffered from something called Ocular Migraines. They are different than regular migraines in that your vision blurs for twenty minutes or so before you get the headache. Then I went to Alaska and spent a week floating down the Tatshenshini river from Dalton Post in the Yukon to Dry Bay in Alaska. Yes, we hiked a lot as well. When I got back in no Ocular Migraines and none since. That was about twelve years ago.
STAY ON OFFENSE. GO HIKING!