I spend last week with my family hiking through Southwest Utah at Zion National Park and the amazing state parks around St. George, Utah.
At Zion we completed the Observation Trail hike that takes you to the highest point in the park with the most panoramic views of the canyon. Simply amazing. It’s an 8 mile round trip event, with an elevation change of over 2100 feet, with steep inclines and drop offs.
Observation Trail is considered to be one of the most strenuous hikes and after completing it I understand why. You need to be in good health and have overall general conditioning to do this hike or you may be putting yourself at risk.
Not to be over dramatic, my 13 and 11 year old boys completed the hike too, but they really worked for it as well as I did.
Throughout the hike I was encountering people who were struggling because I could sense they have not kept up their conditioning or were carrying too much extra weight. This does not mean they weren’t able to complete the hike, but you can tell that the experience was not as fun as it could be.
On top of this, there were many people who could not complete even moderately difficult hikes due to poor health. Some were relegated to the trams that drove through the park and looking out the window.
I am not disparaging anyone’s trip to Zion. Regardless of what they did or did not do, they were spending time in one of the most beautiful parks in the world. I do wonder, though, if people missed out on some amazing experiences due to their lack of health.
A truth that I’ve come to over the years is that we are all going to pay for our health. We can pay up front through a healthy diet and exercise or we can pay later through decreased health and vitality.
When you are paying up front and taking care of yourself you see tangible results like feeling better, having more energy, and being able to push yourself physically so you can accomplish important goals in your life.
If you are paying later, you also will have tangible results but the pain, lack of energy, and disease puts you in a precarious position that most people don’t want to be in.
There so many beautiful places in this world, and I know I won’t be able to travel to most of them. The good news is there are beautiful places everywhere, close and easy to travel to, but you have to get out of your car and walk, bike, or hike to see them.
As I get older I realize that if I want to experience more out of life, I need to stay as healthy as I can. I cannot predict disease out of my control, but I can prevent much of the disease that affects our world through a healthy lifestyle.
My encouragement to you is implement small actions each day to improve your health. What are examples of small actions you can take?
- Take the stairs any time you can
- Walk over lunch
- Add a few more veggies and fruits to your meals
- Drink more water
- Stand more during your day
- Run for 10 minutes
- Take a few deep breaths
There are countless small things we can do each day to improve our health. You know what they are for you, so implement a couple of small steps each week until they become habits.
My experience has been that as I have made small steps to improve my health I am able to work into bigger steps along the way. It was through those small steps that I gained confidence and momentum.
Don’t let beautiful places pass you by because you are too out of shape to experience them. Start today and implement those changes you know you need to make.
The tangible benefit is that you’ll be able to experience the beauty of this world and feel better doing it.
If there are topics or questions you’d like me discuss, you are welcome to email topics and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.