Walking has been my thing for a long time, but it has only been my passion for a couple of years. I walk the 0.85 miles to work and the 0.85 miles back as well as walking 2-3 miles on my lunch break. I thought all this walking would keep me hiking-ready for the trails. While it definitely has kept me in shape and has helped me be conditioned for hiking, it hasn't been the best way to train for hiking. A few really hard, difficult climbs gave me a greater awareness of that.
I pushed on anyway, but somewhere in January, I got tired of my lunch walk. Sure, it was colder, but I was used to that. What was it about my lunch walk, then, that I didn't like anymore? Well, mainly I was bored with it. There are only so many routes to take and after nearly a year, I've taken all of them. Also, that walk takes up a better part of my lunch break, and I do have other things I'd like to be doing on my lunch break besides walking - like reading, taking notes for story ideas, and watching videos on a variety of topics.
So, for about a month, I quit my lunch walks while I read a book that a friend lent to me. After I finished the book, I decided to go back to my lunch walks but ran into the same issues. Regardless, I pressed on until one super-cold, windy and bitter day. That day, while I wanted to get some exercise, I didn't want to deal with the extreme cold...after all, I don't bring all my cold-winter gear to work. Instead, I had a genius idea. I work on the second floor of a three-story building, so why not walk up and down the three flights of stairs a few times?
The first time, I walked up and down 5 times, and, man, was that a workout. I was breathing heavily and sweating pretty good. The next morning, my legs felt sore like I had done a decently inclined hike. I realized that I was on to something. I was getting a better workout - and one that was better hiking training - in a much shorter period of time. The next day, I decided to try a different stairwell as the one I used the day before was narrow and heavily trafficked. What I found was a set of stairs that went from the basement to the roof for a total of five floors! I walked up and down 3.5 times and I was exhausted.
That week, I did 3.5 flights every lunch break, and the next week I bumped up a flight to 4.5. My plan is to do the stairs at a certain amount and then bump up an extra flight every two weeks. I can already tell the difference it has made in my life. What also makes stair-climbing on my lunch break so great is that it only takes around 12-13 minutes of my time so I can still go eat my lunch and read for a while.
I've also kept it up on the weekends by going to the local park that has a long flight of stairs and making the rounds 8-9 times. Only my next major hike will tell how useful all this stair-climbing will be, but I'll make sure to share my results.
I hope you have a great weekend! The weather is going to be gorgeous here, so hiking is definitely on the agenda...and maybe a bit of stair-climbing.