Over the past 12 months I have developed a huge interest in hiking and I want to share with you why I believe everybody should give it a go. I will be sharing the positives that I get from it but also the benefits that it has given those that have attended with me.
I, amongst others that have joined me have conquered the following over the last 12 months Coniston Old Man, Snowdon, Scafell, Pendle Hill as well as a couple more. The first thing that I love about hiking is that I see it as an achievement, I see it as that I have conquered something. I make it competitive, in the sense of it is me against the mountain, my full attention at that time is on exactly that and nothing else. I can look back on those events and know that I achieved something that isn’t related to work, family etc but it is something absolutely personal to me. Having achieved that gives me positive energy which lends to improving the other areas of my life, if I am feeling fulfilled then the rest of my life will follow, it helps me be better for those around me. I fully believe it is important to achieve things that do not involve work or mundane day to day activities and you can do this through hiking. That of course is the long-term feeling but the short-term euphoria once you get to the top and then back down is worth every step of being out of breath and feeling uncomfortable, not to mention the pint in the pub at the end!
A knock on effect of having your attention solely on defeating the mountain also means that your mind gets a break from all the other stuff going on e.g. work stresses, family issues, relationship worries and even anxiety and depression. I am not saying it cures any of the above but what it does do is take your mind elsewhere, it diverts your attention onto something else giving you total reprieve of all of those things. I promise you that when you are working hard to climb the mountain whilst engaging with other like-minded people that you will not worry about any of this, that is the beauty of it.
Speaking of beauty, of course a benefit of hiking is that you get to see some spectacular views, you really get to see what this planet has to offer, away from the four walls of the office and your house. You get to experience something different, it can be breath-taking at times. On a similar subject, most of us do not get enough fresh air and sunlight because we spend our lives in air-conditioned environments and away from the sun. The majority of the western world are deficient in vitamin D and although the UK weather doesn’t always lend well to support this, we can certainly do more to get outside. I bet there are days go by that you do not step outside for any more time than getting in and out of your car? Hiking provides a huge opportunity to change that.
On the subject of the great outdoors, it is absolutely free, all of the above benefits you can get for free, what else in life could you say is true to that?
Then of course there are the health benefits that come along with it, what better way to improve your heart health, lung capacity and therefore improve your fitness than in the great outdoors with beautiful views? The bonus is that along the way you will burn a fair amount of calories too which will more than make room for the post hike pint!
The final brilliant thing about hiking is that it gives you a new challenge every single time, because as soon as you have completed one, it leaves you wanting more, it leaves you wanting a bigger more challenging climb next time, which is why my walks have progressed to the biggest in the UK. On March 28th myself and a bunch of people will take on Helvellyn ahead of Ben Nevis in June. Once that is complete I know that I will want to venture further afield hiking in different countries around Europe and beyond.
I am not saying you have to be the person that spends hundreds of pounds on a Rab jacket and the best hiking boots nor am I saying you have to come with me into Europe (of course you are most welcome if you wish to) but I am saying that you should give it a go. As humans we are not designed to be cooped up in an office slouched into our computers, we are not genetically engineered to do that so if you haven’t tried it, maybe it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and use your body for what it is perfectly designed to do. It is going to be tough at first, I wouldn’t lie to you about that, but it is worth it and like with anything you only get better by doing and taking action. Maybe it is time you did something just for you, something that challenges your beliefs, something that challenges you both physically and mentally, something that pushes you out of your comfort zone but something that is so rewarding that you will never look back. And the thing is, if you don’t try it, you will never know…
“A life without challenge is not only a life not worth living but also a life devoid of meaning.”
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