Let’s Go For A Hike (06/10/2019)

I usually don’t create these newsletters from my personal experiences or perspective, but I wanted to share some thoughts I had during a hike Memorial Day weekend. It my first father-daughter hike with Stella, our 13-month old. She and I went to Wachusett Mountain, which I have hiked hundreds of times since moving to Massachusetts in 1986.

The idea and inspiration for writing this came within the first 5 minutes of our hike when we passed another father and daughter duo. They were on their way down the mountain. The young girl looked to be around 14 years old and the father was probably my age. She was ahead and he was trying to keep up and catch up with her.

This led me to think how fortunate I am to have 1) healthy children, 2) be part of an active family and 3) and that I am in a place physically where I can carry my daughter up and down the mountain in a backpack. She’s only 20-21 pounds, it’s no “ruck,” but it’s still more work than hiking solo.

While carrying Stella up the mountain, I was telling her how I want to experience many hikes together. When she’s 14 years old the year will be 2032 and I’ll be 57. That number makes me wonder where I’ll be with my own health and fitness. Barring no incidents, I’ll still be focusing on standards of strength using the foundational movements like the deadlift, squat, lunge, push up and overhead press, pull up and row and of course the kettlebell Get Up!

For most of us, we don’t train in the gym to be better at the gym. We practice and push our training in the gym to be better human beings, to be better at the things in life we want to enjoy the most.

I always want to go for a hike. Hiking has always acted as my mediation, free medication, and I would love to create experiences through hiking with my kids for as long as I possibly can.

Gray Cook, who we referenced in the last newsletter on squatting, talks about hiking as one of the greatest corrective strategies you can do. Think about it – you’re moving up and down over uneven, unpredictable terrain for a period of time. Hiking is our ability to interact with nature where the intensity and load is always unpredictable waviness. Hiking is corrective, strengthening and it conditions us. Besides the physical energy it takes, there’s mental focus needed for every single step.

Hiking is an activity we can enjoy together or alone. We can talk or we can be silent observers in the woods. We can take a stroll or charge up the mountain. At the end of a hike, we can all smile and be grateful we’re able to move well and that our bodies are the all-terrain vehicle up for the challenge to conquer the trail.

For me, being in the woods and heading to the top of a mountain with my wife, son and daughter for many years to come is why I practice strength and train with intention.