“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!