If there’s one sure-fired way to gauge your general fitness level it’s doing some fairly vigorous exercise like a bit of cardio-vascular work or a hike over a decent distance involving some lung expanding ascents and descents. The amount of bitching you get from your muscles over the ensuing days will speak volumes about your fitness.
Jack and I have been keen hikers for many years now and I have always thought that it’s a brilliant way to keep fitness levels topped up, as well as enjoying all the beauty of your surroundings – wherever that may be. When work commitments keep us away from our Tenerife island walks, you can guarantee it won’t be long before I start to feel fat and unfit.
Unfortunately, the months of April and May have been packed beyond capacity with looming deadlines, Tenerife Magazine commitments and the usual contract-juggling. Just to add culinary insult to the no-exercise-or-hiking routine, Jack went on a blog trip to Asturias where, over the course of five days, he consumed the equivalent of several head of beef, filled up on classic Fabada and indulged his taste buds on the Transcantábrico Luxury Train . One week later we both found ourselves gorging on gastronomy in Costa Brava, and whilst we did do a modicum of walking, it has to be said that most of it was from restaurant to restaurant.
On a scale of one to ten, at the point we returned from Costa Brava I would have put our fitness levels on the wrong side of a flabby five.
Seven days later, having spent the entire week in front of IT screens, we headed off to Sands Beach Resort on Lanzarote to try out a series of excursions being run by Lanzarote Active Club. Over four consecutive days we hiked somewhere in the region of 35 kilometres, which is not a great distance, but much of it, especially in Los Ajaches National Park, was steep inclines and skittery descents of volcanoes.
After arriving back at the hotel on the evening of day one, we expected to have trouble getting our legs to take our weight the next morning but incredibly, over the entire week we never once felt aches or pains and at the end of our four days, I reckon our fitness levels are now edging back towards a self-satisfied seven.
The moral of this story is, if you want to get fitter without the tedium of hours in the gym, invest in a pair of good hiking boots and head for the great outdoors. Walking is incredibly adept at keeping fitness levels topped up, even when it doesn’t feel as if they are and even when you have periods of inactivity, provided you don’t leave it too long before getting back onto the rural highway.
So, how fit do you reckon you are?