Staying fit is all about making activity a daily part of living life. At least that’s my philosophy, and I had an opportunity to put this to work last week before my cooking class at Rachel Demuth’s.
My train got into just after 8a.m. and class didn’t start til 9:50. Looking at the map to Rachel’s (which makes a point of noting that the walk from the train station is about 30 minutes uphill), I noticed a landmark beyond my destination called “Beacon Hill”. What can I say – when I see a landmark with “hill” in the name, I just can’t resist (same goes for “falls”, “canyon”, “cove” and pretty much any word that sounds like an adventure). I also thought it’d be nice to do a little exercise before embarking on a day of food tasting.
Neither the map nor Rachel’s directions were lying – the trip to her kitchen was steep as is, but it got even steeper as I headed up the stairway to the top of Beacon Hill. My thighs were burning, but at the summit I reaped my reward: a magnificent view of Bath and the countryside beyond. This is the kind of stuff that makes me love England.
So my quick tip for you is: Got a hill and some time to kill? Then get walking. The rewards are manyfold:
- Great exercise. Walking up hills is not only great for your cardiovascular health, but it also gives your thighs and calves and killer workout.
- Conquering the vista. Nothing beats the sense of accomplishment you feel after walking up a hill.
- The view. Whether you’re in a city or the countryside, a hill generally affords an amazing overlook of the surrounding landscape. And even if the view is dismal (shopping malls and garbage dumps probably look much more appealing from ground level), at least you get a new perspective on the world we live in.
- Stress relief. There’s plenty of research out there to support that direct contact with nature leads to increased mental health. I can’t say the same for the gym.
- It’s free. We like free!
I’m not the only one who loves hill walking. The old geezers and their dogs up on Beacon Hill were a testament to that. So is Cari Corbet-Owen, who recently extolled the virtues of a good hill in her excellent guest post on Cranky Fitness:
I want being active to just be a natural part of my day. So, I’d rather have a workout walking up the steep hill to the shops with my backpack on. I’m killing a couple birds with one stone…. fitting in my shopping, fitting in some sunshine, smiling at a few people on the way, doing my affirmations, taking a break from work AND striding out.
Once again, good old-fashioned LIVING conquers the gym. It can be done!
I’d love to buy a house on a hill, but somehow I don’t think I could afford this view (or the flowers to go with it):