Why Hiking Is Good For You
It may sound like new age spiritual wisdom but hiking is immensely beneficial for us.
There are countless benefits to hiking that go beyond the physical, though some might feel dubious about it.
However, research has shown that hiking benefits us in ways beyond normal exercise.
It doesn’t just improve your health.
Hiking is also able to improve your mind, your mood, and your relationships with others.
I know it doesn’t sound true but I have personally never felt calmer than when hiking out in nature.
There’s an ethereal sort of calm that rests upon me and everything seems better in the world.
And this can translate back to normal life too.
Research has even shown that living or being near trees have similar benefits as trees exude organic compounds that serve as great mood boosters.
And once you have your hiking gear, it’s something you can do multiple times for very little cost.
If you’re still doubtful, I am going to go over the several benefits of hiking in this article.
Read on and be convinced!
1. Hiking Helps To Sharpen Your Mind
It’s not all that hard to believe but hiking can help improve your cognitive function.
To begin with, we all know that exercising is good for our bodies. Riding a bicycle, running on a treadmill, swimming, these exercises all promote better cardiovascular fitness.
And this keeps your body strong and healthy.
Aside from that, your brain also benefits from it as it is able to receive more oxygen.
Hiking, being another form of exercise, is certainly able to evoke similar benefits for you too.
However, hiking also has additional cognitive benefits as hiking requires you to navigate trails.
Trails are often full of challenges as you’d have to step over puddles or rocks, duck from hanging branches, and follow trail markers.
These are all little challenges for your brain and they require your brain to carefully work your way through the trail.
This ends up being a great exercise for your retrosplenial cortex and hippocampus.
These parts are needed in daily life for navigation and exercising it during a hike helps to strengthen them.
As such, hiking is beneficial all throughout your body.
2. Hiking Brings About Calmness And Happiness
In general, exercising also helps to improve your mood as endorphins are released post-exercise.
This means that you generally feel happier and calmer after exercising.
Hiking can only amplify this effect as being outdoors in a nature-setting has been proven to help ease mental fatigue.
Being surrounded by greenery helps relieve “attention overload” and it allows one to reconnect with nature.
Aside from that, research has also shown that purely walking in nature can help alleviate anxiety and stress levels.
Therefore, hiking is the best exercise to boost your mood.
There are a ton of nature-based activities that one could take part in, such as rock climbing or kayaking.
However, these activities require more technical skills and gear.
And therefore, it is not readily available to everyone.
Instead, hiking serves as the perfect nature-based exercise.
Personally, I enjoy being surrounded by greenery.
The air feels fresher and the world just looks brighter.
It seemingly lessens my worries as I realise that it is nothing compared to the awesomeness that is mother nature.
As such, I always return from my hikes feeling calm and relaxed.
It truly is a good way to boost your mood.
3. Hiking Can Boost Your Personal Relationships
Hiking with a loved one can bring about more positive feelings and deepen connections.
Just being out in nature with no distractions allows you to focus on them and this can help build better connections with one another.
You’re able to listen better to them and this helps them feel heard and validated.
Or, it might be you that feels heard by your loved one.
In essence, there’s just something about hiking and discovering new views with a loved one, a sort of deep intimacy is sparked as you hike and make a good memory together.
In fact, research has shown that spending time with nature has the side effect of making people more empathetic, helpful, and generous.
And this helps us in our day to day interaction with others.
Alternatively, hiking and being out in nature makes us happier and calmer.
And this continues on in our interactions with others.
When met with positivity, people respond in equal measure.
And this could spark a loop of improving relationships.
In other words, hiking can bring about a better relationship with people for you.
4. Hiking Can Spark Creativity
It’s been proven that hiking is able to spark or improve your creativity.
A study was done by David Strayer and his colleagues on teens taking part in an Outward Bound Program.
These teens spent three days in the wilderness hiking and surviving.
They were tested before and after their time in the wilderness and it was found that their creative thinking skills had improved.
There are many possible ways that hiking in nature can help improve your creativity.
One is that being out in nature is freeing and allows your mind to wander aimlessly.
This could allow you to stumble over ideas as you aren’t focused and digging for one.
Instead, a sudden spark of inspiration could hit.
Or, it’s also been posited that perhaps it’s because nature is so immense and unpredictable.
This environment thus requires us to think in unconventional but fun ways.
As such, it is able to boost our creativity.
5. Hiking Allows You To Build A Deep Connection With Mother Nature
Being out in nature and hiking around gives you a newfound appreciation and wonder for mother nature.
As you climb through amazing greenery and plants, you feel wonder and love.
And this leads to you creating a deeper connection with nature.
This is immensely important as nature is what’s always providing for us.
And being able to appreciate nature means that we would be more likely to care about conservation efforts.
You’d be more likely to pick up litter if you see it and you’d be more likely to choose to be environmentally friendly.
This is vastly important as we have to protect mother nature.
Hiking is greatly beneficial for your body, mind, and soul.
If you are able to easily access nature, you should pick up hiking.
It could greatly help to alleviate the stresses you may currently face.