Friday, April 19, 2013

Hiking – that’s just walking right?

I’m not a gym person. If you want to make me very sad, then put me on a treadmill where I’m expected to stare straight ahead while completely ignoring the person hoofing it out on their machine 18 inches away. Don’t get me wrong, living in the flat Midwest during the winter I have to log plenty of time on a treadmill because it is my best hope of getting incline practice. But do I prefer it? Absolutely not. The reason I was drawn to hiking was my desire to get outside more. I’ve heard statistics that adults in North America spend 90% of their time indoors. We seem to have voluntarily turned ourselves into caged mice. Once I started trying to figure out what I could do to be more active, I realized that on the days I was outside the time flew by. I could play for hours outside yet one cardio class at the gym felt like torture. On the days where I “played” outside, I was more relaxed and I slept amazingly well. So here I was trying to figure out what I could do outside within my physical capabilities – and viola – I decided to go for a hike. I mean – it is just walking, right? 

Hiking is great exercise and is something that can help anyone at any fitness level. Other than good shoes – you really don’t have to invest in a lot of gear for a while. The most amazing part of outside is that Mother Nature doesn't charge a monthly membership fee. My first hikes were small and along a path at a nature preserve. As I grew stronger and less timid to venture into “the woods” the hikes became longer, and I started seeking out new places to explore. I've mentioned before that I’m currently training for a second trek of the Grand Canyon this June. The irony isn't lost on me that my hiking habit now drives my workouts in the very gym I tried to avoid early on. Having recently added CrossFit to my training, I’m now spending lunch hours on the treadmill and going to CrossFit three days a week before work. All of this is an effort to increase my cardio and strength that will be needed to successfully complete the Rim to Rim to Rim adventure. 

The majority of my weekends are now spent outdoors, or at least in the pursuit of getting outdoors. It is becoming an increasing family activity for us. It really is the activity that we can all do together. We scale back when the children join us, but I'm thrilled to see them spending time outside and happily exploring. I’ve never been the “outdoorsy” type, and I promise that you don’t have to stop shaving and wearing deodorant when you start hiking. So don’t dismiss hiking as a very real option for getting active. I was always the girly girl that avoided any activity that looked like too much work. But that girl ended up really overweight – so I stopped listening to her. 

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