7 Benefits of Hiking into Shape

A last-minute Night Hike helped me to keep my streak alive!

I almost missed my workout today. After a solid 3 days of working on the mountain this week, I had convinced myself that it would be okay to skip a day. However, when my daughter needed a ride downtown this evening, I quickly thought of a way to get my workout in: a night hike. I speedily dressed and got my trusty headlight out from underneath my various ultra gear and headed out the door.

When I arrived at the trailhead to Madonna Mountain, it was apparent I was not alone in my idea to charge through the darkness to the Christmas lights at the summit. The parking lot was filled. The only space I found was marked over twice with “NO PARKING” signs. To add to this dissuasion, a large sign greeted hikers as we entered the parking lot: “MUST BE OFF THE MOUNTAIN AT 5:50 OR FACE FINE.” That almost got me, but I decided to park in the illegal spot and take my chances all around.

I leapt out of my car and charged up the mountain, locking my car almost as an afterthought as I went. I had my ear buds in, but never asked Siri to load up any song. I guess I was eager to keep up my hiking into shape.

As I climbed higher on the mountain, all of my waxing philosophical from yesterday rung empty in my ears and soul. Tired from this week, I was hurting. Added to that, I kept imagining my truck being impounded a thousand feet below me. I imagined having to trudge all the way home, sneak in the back door – because my house key was in the impounded truck – and encouraging my daughter to find some other ride home. All of these fearful reveries were for naught as my truck was still there when I returned from my workout after having turned back within a quarter mile of the summit. I guess the lure of the illuminated Christmas tree atop the mountain was not enough to pull me up the final climb.

…. Which brings me to… the 7 benefits of Hiking into shape:

1. It is a nearly injury proof method of getting back on the running roads and trails.

2. It’s a great way to ease back into working out. It’s easy to motivate yourself to go for a walk in the mountains.

3. You can begin to add in short jogs as early as the first day so that the transition to running is swift and sure.

4. The varied terrain and footing of hiking trails assures that all of the micro-muscles used for running are getting worked little by little.

5. You can invite friends of any level along for your workout as you spend those first weeks spinning back into shape.

6. You can choose from a variety of hikes to keep things fresh and interesting.

7. In one to two weeks, you’ll be fit and ready to begin to jog again!

So, what are you waiting for? If you’ve been – like me – a lazy bum for the past several months, commit now to getting out for your first hike tomorrow so that in 2 weeks time, you’ll be ready to run again. And given the timing right now, this will set you up perfectly to be able to achieve some wonderful New Year’s resolution of your choosing.

See you on the trails!