Wanna read the latest
from Clever Magazine?
trend of the future?
by Jessica Lawson
I hold a Masters degree in Recreation and Park Administration, and have worked for the
National Recreation Foundation and Texas Parks & Wildlife. Writing credits include the online
magazines Stories For Children and The Chick Lit Review.
The average cost of a gym membership in the United States is
$50/month. The average cost of walking in public spaces is a
user-friendly $0. According to the American Hiking Society, when a
150-lb person hikes at a comfortable 2 mph, they will burn 240 calories
per hour; not bad when you factor in the scenery. The AHS also claims
that hiking reduces cholesterol, specifically HDL, lowering the risk of
heart disease. Let’s be honest though—how many people truly have access
to trails? Not many compared to suburbanites and city dwellers that are
barraged with billboards and commercials advertising places to get fit
and be seen by the opposite sex.
“A hike,” I said. “Really? Where did you go?” My parents currently live in Des Moines, Iowa, and I knew nothing about the trail system there.
“Oh, just around the complex,” she replied. They live in a condo
community, so I was a bit puzzled.
She paused, as though giving consideration to the question before
answering, “No. No, it was a hike.”
“Hate to correct you Mom, but I wouldn’t really consider that a hike. A hike must be on a natural surface and have some level of elevation change.”
She seemed unscathed by my blatant blow to her ego. “No,” she repeated. “It was a hike.”
I attempted to veil my irritation. “Okay, then. What made it a hike?”
Again, she paused before replying. “I like to think of a hike as a determined walk—like a deliberate interaction with the world. You’re exposing yourself and going on a little adventure. Anything might happen. It’s thrilling, really.”
I pictured her brazenly jaunting around the condo systems exposing herself, ready to respond to a rampant pride of lions or alien attack. After getting off the phone, I thought about her attitude and came to a realization. Strange as it may sound, perhaps she has a point. Why be pompous about the word “hike”? If using the term will justify changing one or two workouts a week to a long walk around your city streets or neighborhood, bring it on. Besides, further research on the AHS revealed that they based their “hiking lowers cholesterol” fact on the on the evidence that mail carriers have good cholesterol, and they walk a few miles a day.
Everyone can be a hiker! People will be “hiking” to work from their
subway stops, “hiking” to Gate 17C at the airport, and “hiking” around
the Upper East Side searching for the perfect panini. After all, with
the popularity of Seinfeld’s urban sombrero, how could the urban hiking
movement possibly fail? REI may even invest in a line of heavy-duty
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