Hike 04

Welcome Fellow Couch Potatoes!

Couch Potato Hiking

As a child, I was a confirmed Couch Potato. While others were involved with sports and outdoor activities, I was mostly indoors and quite often ill. My pediatricians knew me well. Too many cookies and too little activity – and although the phrase wasn’t used much back then – I was borderline obese. Just the idea of exercise alone made me run the other way! One could say I was the “Original” Couch Potato.

Years later, as an adult, when my husband suggested we go hiking, my reaction was “No way! You’re kidding!” But being a clever man, he started his campaign to get me hiking with a little shopping spree – yaayy!! We bought boots, a hat, hiking poles, a water backpack and other equipment. And, slowly I was becoming hooked. Hey, I had to at least try out the equipment!

Since then, we’ve hiked in scenic and historic places through the country, and although we’d often take the easy hikes – what I would mostly call “Couch Potato Hikes,” – I have been transformed. I’ve even worn out several pair of hiking boots! Today, if you were to say to me, “Let’s go hiking!”, you’re likely to hear “where?”

Why I wrote the books

Everywhere I turn and in many things I’ve read – I find that the health of our country – and especially our children – is in jeopardy. In 2004, I sat down and wrote most of Hiking for the Couch Potato: A Guide for the Exercise Challenged, a tongue-in-cheek version of my story, written to encourage others to become active and stop being couch potatoes. I finally published it in 2010 – and got chuckles and guffaws when people heard the title. Everyone said, “I know someone who could use this!” It was an instant hit!

Late in 2011, I met a nutritionist who begged me to write a Couch Potato book for kids. Her story about kids’ inactivity and childhood obesity – plus everything I was reading in the media – convinced me to write my second book. Hiking for the Couch Potato Kid: Birds, Bugs, Butterflies and other Beasties is intended to get kids on outdoor adventures and exploring nature – and becoming more active.

So, I am on a mission. I am now presenting kid and adult workshops on health and getting outdoors and being active. Admittedly, creating a healthy outdoor habit can be tough. I am proof that it can be done. Being a Couch Potato can be overcome.

I hope that by visiting our website often, participating through comments on our blog and perhaps attending one of our workshops (stay tuned for new workshop and event announcements), you can become inspired, as I have, to change your life for the better. Bring the family along on the adventure and everyone will have a healthier life!

Happy – and healthier – trails to you!

Shelley Gillespie (The Original Couch Potato)