The Great Outdoors

Several years ago, we went hiking in Muir Woods. At least I could not hike much as fatigue easily overtook me. When I mentioned to my son that I was going into the forest a few days back, he cautioned me. There are tigers in the woods that might eat you up he said. I reassured him  and told him that the Tigers were afraid of me. I was going hiking again after a long time.

It is not possible to capture the peace and quiet of a forest. Not in words and certainly not in pictures. All you can hear is the soft crunch of your feet as they crackle the dead leaves. If you stop, there is complete silence on the outside. Inside my head, there was a cacophony of sounds. It was telling me “you can do this.” The voice in your head is one of the amazing benefits of getting into some fitness routine. The sheer number of times you tell yourself you can do it has to have some positive impact on your belief system. The belief that anything is possible; there are no limits.

The rest of the time, I felt I was at the Oscars receiving an award. In my head, I kept thanking my family, my trainer, my mentor, and the person who got me started for my inspiration. I did a five-kilometer hike with an elevation of a thousand feet in forty minutes. I didn’t even have to stop to catch my breath. The gratitude was not for the hike but for the lifestyle changes I made that brought me to this point; a point where I could.

My son was disappointed when I told him that I didn’t meet the Tiger. When he grows up, I hope to teach him that often, the Tiger is only in your own head.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.