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Why Day Hike?

Hike:  It's elegant and egalitarian!   Think about a hike: Low overhead and anyone can do this! No set of wheels to buy and master, as in bicycling, skateboarding, motorcycling, Indy 500 auto racing ... no ball to control - as in golf, tennis, baseball, football, bowling, basketball, hot air ballooning ... no fighting the elements for balance with a recalcitrant object - as in skiing, surfing, kayaking, sailing, flying ... no body threatening activity - as in boxing, wrestling, marathon running, ski diving.

Absolutely nothing wrong with any of the other sports mentioned above. The point is: Day Hiking is the ultimate recreational activity. Trails are everywhere. From easy walks around a lake to challenging hikes up a mountain, almost everyone can participate.

Anyone who can walk can do this. The goal is to walk (hike, trek) and come back the same day to indoor plumbing and a bed with an expensive mattress. The attractiveness of this "sport" is each person sets a goal and strives to achieve to it. Rather than a casual walk in the evening after dinner (also, a good thing to do), this endeavor requires some planning and a commitment. Whether it is a challenging, "extreme" or an easy hike, the answer is in the eye of the beholder (or in the feet of the hiker?); specific hikes will be too hard for some and too easy for others. The main goal is to achieve a sense of accomplishment similar to more rigorous sports like ultra-trail or marathon running but with a lot less stress on the body.

Day hiking is becoming popular with all ages, especially two aging baby boomer groups: The formerly active and the inactive.

Active Baby Boomers: The first group engaged in strenuous activities all their lives, perhaps as a serious runner, or some other competitive sport, now find knees and other body parts have slowed them down. Maybe backpacking and camping in the wilderness is not as much fun. The outdoors may have lost its allure due to the heavy pack, the logistics of sleeping, the complications of cooking, and personal body maintenance.  Or simply, they find the time commitment is too much for the extended overnight trip, and thus, day hiking is the answer.

Inactive Baby Boomers: The other group may not have been a fan of exercise, opting for the proverbial couch and TV. Perhaps, after abandoning their pot-induced hippie days, they coasted through their twenties and thirties with no exercise. During their forties as their weight increased and breathing labored, reality set in.  In search for something more rigorous than lifting a can of beer, they are not motivated by jogging, tread mills, or triathlons.  Day hiking is the answer ... easy to do and not boring.

Both groups may share the desire to do something sporting and rigorous, yet returning to the creature comforts of civilization: hot tub, Epicurean delights, and a good night’s sleep. The quintessential day hike can satisfy the need for a renaissance of rigorous physical activity for the 40 plus age group, and, any other age group.

Heath Benefits:  Unless you have been living on or under a couch, you must have noticed the preponderance of evidence claiming rigorous physical exercise is great for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.   Studies have shown brisk, low-sweating walking can help the heart just as well as more vigorous activities.  Furthermore, brisk walking for 10 hours or more at high altitude is marathon-like achievement and a lot more interesting.

And for an extra bonus, rigorous physical activity may prevent or delay Alzheimer's Disease!

Conclusion:  Hike!



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