Insight: The Joy of Hiking

A couple of months ago, I started going for Sunday morning walks. One of our colleagues was raving about how much he enjoyed heading out on a Sunday morning, reaping all the benefits of an early morning walk and still getting home in time for Sunday lunch and having the rest of the day to chill out. So I decided, along with my husband, to start getting into the routine of Sunday morning walks. That was a quite a few months back. Since then, we really got the bug for this pastime and have upped it a notch from walking to hiking. As much as we were enjoying our walks, we felt like we wanted to push ourselves a little more. One of the main motivators in keeping this going was that we genuinely weren't taking any time out of our weekend to do it. Our Sunday mornings were always lying about in our pj's having a late breakfast and it was lunch time before we got going anyway. So, in summer, we come home, shower, change, chill out for an hour and then head out for something to eat. And in winter, if we have no plans that day, we come home, shower, change into lounge arounds and laze about watching our favourite programs and cook. Nothing much has changed, we've just added a very healthy hobby into our lives!

Getting out into the fresh air is always a bonus but when you head up onto the hills, you really are seeing natural beauty. It can be so peaceful and tranquil, no children and dogs disrupting the peace. I sometimes think about taking my exercise mat and doing a bit of yoga. Ok, I wouldn't actually do this but taking a half hour out at the top to sit back and really breath in what we should be breathing in every day if it wasn't for pollution and enjoying the natural unspoiled environment is something special.

And not to mention the exercise you get when hiking. Leisurely walks get the heart rate going and can tone up the legs and bums if done regularly but nothing works the thighs and bums better than a hike. You are working your way uphill and so the thighs are totally at work. But somehow you don't quite notice it as much as you would if you were in the gym. You don't notice the time going by when you are out in the open walking through hills and mountains. In the gym you notice every minute go by and every calorie count. But I can honestly say that no amount of exercise has ever reaped the benefits to my bum and thighs that hiking. I thought walking was good until I started going uphill. Once a week is enough. I may do other moderate exercise during the week but I don't stretch myself.

I must admit there are some Sundays when I am lying in bed thinking lets give it a miss today (which I don't get away with by the way!) but never ever when I am out do I think I wish I was at home. It is such an exhilarating experience and the adrenalin rush is most rewarding. And of course the views are amazing.

We spend so much time indoors these days, on our phones, ipads, watching tv. You can't even count shopping because we only spend a few minutes outside going from shop to shop and in between times we are breathing in car fumes. We have all seen the research of the benefits of spending as much time outdoors as possible, and by outdoors I mean with nature, not siting in the back garden. It is paramount for brain function and helps with our creative thinking. It can also help people who are suffering from depression.

Hiking is a great pastime, promoting our health and well being and therefore making us happier. Don't knock it until you've tried it. You never know, you may get the bug for it, just like I did!