…my favorite exercise
Yesterday, I half-died with the rest of the Greatist team, thanks to a mysterious stomach bug. (We may or may not spend almost all our time together.) And while I was wondering if my organs would give up on me or if I could make it to the bodega two blocks away (read: nope), I also had an extra, odd urge to be active. Blame it on being a prisoner to my own bed. (Anyone remember “The Yellow Wallpaper“?! Kinda like that, minus the baby and losing my mind.)
But rather than wanting to lace up my sneakers or head to my favorite yoga studio down the block, all I could think about was what will always, always be my favorite form of exercise: hiking.
I grew up vacationing in the Adirondacks, so was introduced to dirt trails and slick rock way before over-crowded beaches, stubborn tourists, and all-you-can-eat buffets. The first mountain I climbed was Rocky Mountain in Inlet, New York, and I even managed to do it in a cute purple skirt:
So at a very young age, I created a bond with the beautiful outdoors, and if I could choose only one type of exercise for the rest of my life, it would without a doubt be hitting the trails. Here’s my reasoning:
Don’t feel like running 26.2 miles? Don’t blame you. Luckily, walking 26.2 miles is way more feasible, and doesn’t take months of training.
You get to climb up things.
The best part about hiking is the climbing. Not only do you feel badass when you’re scrambling up rocks, you’re probably doin’ those functionals movements from time to time. And in certain cases, if the terrain is real tough, bike helmets are included.
Think of it like doing savasana right after holding a warrior 2 for waay too long, or cooling down between sets of pushups — while other workouts don’t always allow stopping, hiking encourages it. The views are good anywhere.
I know, the gym is great for however many reasons…but sometimes you need to get out of the sweaty confinements of the fitness floor and breathe in some fresh air. Plus, there are no creepy guys lurking…just a dad every now and then.
You can eat at the same time.
My two favorite activities in one! Besides eating some GU during a long run (does anyone actually think that stuff tastes good?) eating while working out doesn’t happen. And trail mix? C’mon. Best thing ever.
Who needs closed-toed, expensive Aasics or bball kicks when you can “work out” while your feet breathe freeeee…
No matter where you are, the view is always wonderful. (No yoga studio can match this.)
There’s literally a path, hill, mountain, or canyon wherever you are, along with amazing people who want to experience similar sights. And there’s something to say about reaching the summit with others…
Places left to hike:
Mt Kilmanjaro, Appalachian Trail, West Coast Trail (British Columbia), Tongariro Northern Circuit (New Zealand), anything in Zion, Annapurna Circuit (Nepal), Inca trail, Tour de Mont Blanc (France..), anything Smoky Mountains.
What’s on your hiking bucket list? Or…if you could only do one exercise for the rest of your life, what would it be?!?!