Hiking is by far my favorite form of exercise–luckily, in Vermont we have an abundance of hiking trails with no shortage of new terrain to explore. One of the best aspects of this type of activity is that it can be enjoyed year-round. Whether trekking up the snowy hills of Pico fastened into snowshoes or taking a quick summer zip up Deer Leap, one will undoubtedly feel refreshed, revamped, and alive after a good solid hike. In fact, not only does hiking create a feeling of physical wellbeing, but even more so, an emotional soundness that is typically attained from an activity like yoga or meditation.
We’ve been told repeatedly that aerobic exercise lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, and also that it increases circulation and improves cardiorespiratory endurance, leading to overall improved physical fitness–and the ability to hike even bigger mountains! Yes, of course gym memberships are also an option for aerobic exercise, but hiking, kayaking, biking, or paddle boarding, I find, are way more fun than the hamster wheel.
The view from the top
There are times when, of course, the peak of your destination seems to never appear. Mount Equinox comes to mind, as the intensity of this hike wasn’t something that I had prepared for, and it was no quick trip! However, never have I climbed up a mountain only to regret it at the top. Vermont has some of the most beautiful views, with its rolling green mountains, (or multi colored if you are able to get out there in the fall), casting out as far as the eye can see, all the way to the Adirondacks in New York. Every peak offers a different perspective of the state and every view is breathtaking.
Peace of mind
Meditation is undoubtedly the best free and simple way to alter the mind in a healthy, positive way. I recently found out that I can actually get into a meditative state without knowing it. Hiking can lead me to this meditative state without having to sit down and try to get into it—the repetitive motion of steps helps. So too does the serenity of being alone in the woods, with soft sounds of leaves blowing in the wind or the ability to just completely let go of everyday life. If repeated, this translates to our everyday lives, teaching us that continuous climbing to reach our goals may be challenging, but it’s not impossible and you can do so while maintaining peace of mind.