Maria's Monday Minute: Why you should go hiking
I'm in the Salt Lake City and Provo areas for a couple of weeks. Flying in was amazing - oh, the mountain views! I do miss the mountains, so I've done a couple of hikes so far (I would have gone again today, but…..SNOW!).
I did the "Y" Mountain Trail near the BYU campus and the Alta-Brighton trail. While I'm not the hiker I used to be (no major hills where I live in Florida), I still love going uphill. My quads aren't appreciating it right now, but as one of my friends told me, "Your quads are whiners! They will be fine."
Here are my top three reasons for hiking:
Hiking makes me strong and helps improve proprioception (the awareness of the body's position and movement). It builds muscle not only in my legs but in my entire body - especially when I'm moving across the uneven ground or climbing over/under obstacles.
It allows me to be present in that moment - I need to know where I'm going, where I'm stepping, and maintain awareness of my surroundings. I'm focusing on nature, and nature makes me happy.
Hiking helps me reduce stress - I had a favorite local hike in Colorado, and I could always tell how high my stress level was by the time it took me to finish the hike. Shorter time always meant that I was more stressed. The good news is that I was guaranteed less stress by the end of the walk. I always felt better!
Your list for why you hike may be completely different than mine. Whatever your reasons are, get outside and hike!
Maria Netherland is a Northwest Florida-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Endurance and Youth & Juniors Certified Coach as well as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist. Coach Maria loves working for athletes of all abilities, military athletes, and new triathletes as they pursue their goals. Maria is a veteran of the US Army and a United States Military Academy at West Point graduate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.