As the weather is quickly heating up here in Perth, it’s a a great time to hit the trails again. It even gets me wanting to head down south to the Stirling Ranges for some cooler weather and mountain hikes.
For all of you that are rolling your eyes and categorising yourself in the “it’s not my thing” – I want you to know I’m not saying risk your life up Everest, nor am I saying hike up the tallest, or the longest, or even the most challenging mountain… I’m just saying if you have the opportunity to hike up one, even if it IS just one, in your lifetime… you should do it.
… and this is why:
1. VIEWS – there is nothing more breathtaking then being on the top of a mountain, knowing that they are formed from tectonic forces over hundreds of millions of years.
2. CARDIO – why not increase the strength of your heart and lungs in a way that’s more exciting than a Stairmaster at the gym. If you are already quite fit, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. I always try and beat the estimated time – 3, 4 hours… pfft. I’ll do it in less than 2.95!
3. CORE STABILITY – it’s not very often that there is a clear pathway up a mountain so it forces you to use your core to stay stable when moving from dirt, to large rocks, to slippery gravel; especially on the way down.
4. MUSCLE ACTIVATION – how often do we side step, twist our torsos, angle our feet in different directions or move our weight differently on our feet. Hiking up mountains forces our bodies to do that. The different movements activate different muscles, and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
5. MENTAL STRENGTH – let’s not lie here… it hurts. It hurts at the beginning, it hurts during, it hurts after and usually it will continue to hurt for another day or two, even with great cardio and muscle endurance. I’ve seen many ABLE people that give up because of the discomfort and the easier decision to just turn around and “wait at the bottom”.
6. TEAM EFFORT – I love seeing groups high five each other when they finally reach the end, the pain is forgotten and it’s all smiles and laughs. Even if you are hiking solo (which I tend to do), you are never really alone. I am yet to hike up a mountain where someone hasn’t smiled, given a few motivated words or a few little tips about what’s around the corner.
7. PERSPECTIVE – failed an exam? Lost a contract? Didn’t get that job you applied for? Nothing like fresh air, nature and a beautiful summit to remind you that we are all just balls of energy and matter, and we don’t have very long to live, so don’t sweat the small stuff, sweat on the big stuff (see what I did there?)… and enjoy life as much as you can #yolo.
8. LEADERSHIP – there were two types of fathers I encountered during a hike up Bluff Knoll. The first was on my way up, he was a little overweight but told his son that it didn’t matter how long it took them to walk it, they were going to do it as a family. I was at the top when they finally reached and when they did, eyes big with pride and excitement, they high fived each other and I took their family photo and literally shed a tear as I heard the father telling his boy how proud he was of him. On my way down, a girl was asking for her mother and the father responded with “mum’s gone up the mountain, but we are the smarter ones that will wait down here for her” … …. Who learned what, where?
9. ACCOMPLISHMENT –hike up a mountain and you will literally feel on top of the world. Through all the pain, possibly a few slips and hopefully a few high fives from strangers that struggled before you, you DID IT!! You did what many people couldn’t or wouldn’t, and you know what – that literally just goes to show you, you can do anything you put your mind to!
Happy hiking my friends – and don’t forget to slip, slop and slap this summer! 🙂