Healthy living and the trail less travelled

Healthy living and the trail less travelled

Posted by Rob, Brand Manager, Citizen Engagement

Here is my healthy living dilemma: I love the way I feel when I’m healthy, but don’t always love those healthy-living activities. Give me the choice between hitting the gym or sitting on the couch and watching TV with a bag of potato chips? More often than not I’m inclined to do the latter.

But I really do love feeling healthy, and I’ve learned a couple things about myself that help keep me on track. First, I’ve learned that for me, having the right balance of healthy and not-so-healthy activities is key, and I feel OK spending a little time in couch-sitting/potato chip eating as long as I’ve done some healthy things to balance this out. The second is that variety helps me to stay interested and engaged, and the more I switch things up the more likely I am to keep exercising.

I sometimes find road running to be a little monotonous, and as I’ve gotten older I don’t always love the impact it has had on my knees and hips. So this weekend I decided to give trail running a try, and hit the hiking trails of a local mountain. I ended up running around the mountain and up to the summit (here in Maine our mountains are pretty small), and learned the following from my experience:

You need to pay attention. I sometimes find myself “zoning out” on road runs, losing track of where I am and what I’m doing. Doing that on a trail run is likely to lead to a badly twisted ankle. I needed to pay attention to avoid all the rocks and roots in my path. I didn’t mind this, however, and found it kept my run interesting.

It’s great to have a sense of where you are going, but getting lost isn’t always the end of the world. I got lost on my trail run. Twice. The only thing that happened was that I ended up needing to backtrack, and my run became a little longer as a result. And on the upside, I did get to see some parts of the mountain that I had never seen before.

Taking the road less traveled might be hard, but it is worth it. I’m sure how hard the trail run is depends a lot on the trail you pick. The trail I picked was pretty hard, and there were a couple times I felt like quitting. But I didn’t  I was out in nature, surrounded by fresh air and the sounds of birds. I didn’t have to deal with zooming cars or the smell of exhaust. All of this kept me going, and I felt REALLY good after my run

Now that I think about it, these three lessons apply to life in general, too! All philosophical thinking aside, I really loved trail running and can definitely see it becoming an ongoing part of my exercise routine. In the meantime, could you pass me those potato chips? I’ve got some serious couch-time ahead of me.