We’ve all had one of those days when we’ve wanted to politely say to someone ‘go take a hike!’ Most of the time the phrase is used as a figure of speech to express annoyance or anger. You’ve had a lousy day at work, the car’s failed it’s MOT, the washing machine has flooded the kitchen and when you arrive back home you discover the boiler has broken so you’re not even able to take a hot bath to soothe your stress. That’s when you wish you could send everything off to ‘take a hike’. But hang on – if you’re the one that’s stressed why suggest, figuratively or otherwise, that someone else take to the great outdoors, breathe in the fresh air, marvel at the views and enjoy the benefits of a brisk walk?
So let’s turn the phrase around and allow me to convince you to rethink its meaning.
We’ve long been told the benefits of being outside in the fresh air. Can you remember as a kid being told by your parents to turn off the television and go outside and play? How much fun it was being outdoors, getting muddy, running through fields, building dens, hunting for insects etc? And at the end of the day when you returned home with a hungry tummy and achy legs from all the running around and exploring you felt weary but invigorated. Now think back to the last time you felt like that. Too many of our days are now spent sat down in front of a computer screen or mobile phone. We sit in artificially lit offices with recirculated air conditioning sometimes without even an outside view and when the working day is over and we return home we are still glued to our mobiles or tablets or televisions. Not a breath of fresh air or even a whiff of the great outdoors. Sound familiar? So, instead of suggesting someone else take a hike here are five reasons why you should instead.
- Physical health benefits. A regular brisk walk or hike helps to increase the health of the cardiovascular and respiratory system, working the heart and increasing our lung capacity.Along with toning muscle and strengthening bones making us feel physically fitter and healthier.
- Mental health benefits. Walking helps promote a positive mood, increased self-esteem, better sleep patterns and a reduction of stress and anxiety.
- Reconnect with nature. An understanding of the world around us and the simplicity and beauty of the natural world.It may also help us to see the environmental effect our actions and lifestyle choices have on the great outdoors.
- A chance to explore and visit new places. Every day’s a school day, never stop exploring.
- Living in the moment. Don’t just dream about doing something new and exciting – seize the moment and go and do it.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go on, take a hike!!