How trekking inspires lifestyle changes - Balaji Nathan’s Story

How trekking inspires lifestyle changes - Balaji Nathan’s Story

Category Transformation Stories

By Sneha Yadav


“I had been smoking for 20 years. I would smoke a pack a day. I didn’t enjoy it after a point, but I couldn't help it. My addiction was bad. My habits took a turn for worse once the lockdown got imposed. I started drinking frequently. I would eat out a lot. My activity levels dropped to zero.

I was aware that my habits were taking a toll on my health. I was in my late 30s after all; I couldn’t afford to live that away. However, I struggled to quit those habits.

I was on the verge of losing hope when my friend Sirisha introduced me to trekking. I went through the indiahikes website at her suggestion. It was a whole new world for me; I was instantly drawn into it. I wanted to go on a trek but knew I was nowhere near ready.

Sirisha had planned to go on the Goechala trek in April 2022. It was November 2021. I told her to count me in.
I had four months to work on my fitness. As the Indiahikes team suggested, I began by jogging.

I struggled badly. When I failed to make any progress even after repeated attempts, I was pushed to stop smoking. It worked like magic! My endurance went up within a week. I then quit drinking as well.
Each time I craved a cigarette or a drink, I reminded myself of my goal of reaching atop a mountain. That kept me going.

To take my preparations to the next level, I started cycling. That is when I really started to enjoy the process. I wanted to be my fittest self. I participated in several cycling events and finished a 200 km ride in one go. In March, I did over 1100 km of running and cycling combined. The efforts I had put in paid off as I completed the trek to Goechala with ease! If there's one thing I realised, it was that the high of making it to the highest point was way better than all other highs!

I felt grateful that my body supported me so well. I vowed to always take good care of it.

Trekking made me realize the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The sport came to me when I was at my lowest point and gave me a life-changing push to come out of it.” 

Trekkers often share such mindboggling stories with us! This one was narrated by Balaji Nathan. We hope he climbs many more mountains!

Sneha Yadav

Trek Coordinator

About the author

Sneha Yadav is a part of the Content Team at Indiahikes. She manages the Social Media content. Previously, she worked as an Experience Coordinator and before that as a Green Trails Fellow on our Himalayan trails. She graduated from Delhi University with an Honours in Economics. She has a keen interest in theatre and has performed plays on various social themes. Sneha loves to trek, and believes trekking is a way to keep the mind and body fit.

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