You may be forgiven for thinking that my site is actually a travel blog if you’ve stopped by in the last month or so. The first two weeks of April, I took my dream spring break to several National Parks in the Southwest, and then spent about a week and a half recapping my extraordinary experience. Fitness musings were few and far between.
Part of this was simply because it was such an incredible trip- exceeding my already high expectations- and I wanted to share this with others. Also, my husband took stunning photos that deserved a public platform!
But there was an essential physical aspect to my vacation that I also feel is critical to my fitness story. I felt like I experienced a fitness reawakening of sorts while on my trip. Almost everyday, my husband and I spent much of our time outdoors, hiking a huge variety of terrain that required our bodies to constantly adapt to ever-changing conditions. Most days we hiked between 4-8 miles, often up and down steep canyons- at the Grand Canyon, we descended 1,500 feet in just 1.5 miles! In several places we were in dry desert conditions with simultaneously rocky and sandy trails that tested our endurance.
I marveled at the fact that I was able to do all this with relative ease. This is not to say any of these hikes were easy. But my body never felt totally destroyed at the end either. In fact, aside from some tired feet occasionally, I never experienced any muscle fatigue or pain.
I couldn’t help but compare to two years ago when we did a similar trip along the West Coast. I wasn’t in the habit of working out that regularly then, so while I was able to still do the hikes I had to stop for rest somewhat frequently, and my muscles were definitely feeling it the first few days. Not this time- my regular strength training sessions, spinning classes and half marathon training really made a world of difference.
My new physical capabilities has instilled a new motivation to continue exercising regularly. I know my husband and I plan to see as many National Parks as we can in the future, and I want to be able to really experience them- to take on the toughest hiking trail they have, and savor the rewards they offer. Many fellow guests at the parks we visited weren’t physically able to experience the park as we did and couldn’t venture much beyond the parking lots or paved look out points. I want to always be able to move beyond these surface experiences and truly devour what the Parks have to offer.
I will only be able to do that if I continue to maintain my fitness levels.
That is why my spring break featured so prominently in my blogging recently. It’s now not only an beautiful memory that my husband and I will always share, but it’s a critical component to my fitness journey. It will always play a key role in motivating me to keep moving, to keep challenging my body, and to appreciate the gifts, small and large, that leading a healthy lifestyle provides.