Forget the gym - get outside instead

Hiking is the best New Year’s fitness resolution

James Forrest By James Forrest

Still thinking about what your New Year's resolution should be? #GetOutside Champion James Forrest tells us why he thinks everyone should take up hiking in 2020.

Hiking the Creag Meagaidh Munros.


Hiking the Creag Meagaidh Munros. Picture credit - Edward Fitzpatrick @eddiefitz7

How was your Christmas? Actually, don’t answer that. I already know. You ate too much turkey, drank too much red wine, and sat around on the sofa all day watching repeats of Only Fools & Horses and Miracle on 34th Street. Am I on the mark?

This festive season was a diet disaster and an exercise wasteland. But January is here now. And January means one thing only - New Year’s fitness resolutions.

You’re going to get fit and lose weight; you’re going to drop that dress size; and 2020 is going to be your healthy, happy year. You’ll start just after you’ve finished that final tub of Quality Street, right?

Hiking in front of Aran Fawddwy


Hiking in front of Aran Fawddwy

Hiking in Glencoe.


Hiking in Glencoe. Picture credit Edward Fitzpatrick. Instagram @eddiefitz7

Waking up above the clouds on Knockowen


Waking up above the clouds on Knockowen

Don’t fear, however. I know why you’re procrastinating. The prospect of re-mortgaging your house in order to afford the monthly membership of your local gym, just to spend hours on a treadmill staring at a whitewashed wall surrounded by annoyingly thin people in lycra, does not seem that attractive.

But there is another way: a fun, joyous, life-affirming, happiness-inducing way to get fit in the nountains and countryside of the UK. And, best of all, it’s free.

Hiking in Glencoe.


Hiking in Glencoe. Picture credit Edward Fitzpatrick. Instagram @eddiefitz7

Views of Carrauntoohil while exploring the MacGillycuddy's Reeks


Views of Carrauntoohil while exploring the MacGillycuddy's Reeks

Enjoying the views near Yes Tor in Dartmoor


Enjoying the views near Yes Tor in Dartmoor

Walking is my favourite way to stay fit, especially in the countryside of the UK. There are just so many glorious opportunities for a good walk: everything from a village stroll or lakeside amble to a hardcore hike up a gnarly mountain. But why do I love walking?

Well, there are so many reasons. I love the exercise, the fresh air, being connected to nature, the breath-taking views, and the freedom and escapism. I love the way I feel fitter and healthier after every walk. And I love that process of putting one foot in front of the other is therapeutic and healing – it always clears my head, helps me de-stress, and puts life’s little problems into perspective. Here's 5 of my favourite routes...

1. Mam Tor and Great Ridge, Yorkshire

2. Ullswater Way, Lake District

3. Cat Bells, Lake District

4. Ben Lomond, Scotland

5. Carnedd Llewelyn, Snowdonia

Waking up above the clouds on Knockowen


Waking up above the clouds on Knockowen

Those who walk will be blessed in both body and mind

Alfred Wainwright put it eloquently when he said that those who walk will be ‘blessed in both body and mind’. That’s certainly how I feel after every walk I've completed. It is brilliant for both my physical health and mental well-being. And I’m sure you’ll have a similar experience.

It’s easy to get started, no matter how fit or experienced you are. Simply grab a pair of sturdy boots, a map, and a waterproof and kick off your 2020 New Year’s fitness resolution with a walk. Enjoy the trails!

Published 29/12/2019

James Forrest By James Forrest

About:

James Forrest – aka ‘Mountain Man’ – is the record-breaking adventurer who climbed every mountain in England and Wales in just six months, the fastest ever time.

His debut book ‘Mountain Man: 446 Mountains. Six months. One record-breaking adventure” was released 2 May 2019. Find out more about James here.

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