With summer right around the corner, there are so many things to do outdoors. Hiking should be at the top of your list and I’m going to explain why. In this post I’m going to give you 3 types of benefits of hiking. I’ll also give you a few tips on how to have the best hiking trip if this will be your first time!
What is hiking?
You may be wondering, “what’s so special about hiking?” Before getting into the countless benefits of it, I want to explain what hiking actually is. To put it simply, hiking is an aerobic type of exercise consisting of walking vigorously in nature. Many times the nature trail could be a certain altitude which adds to the health benefits I’m going to get into.
In this post I’m going to provide you with 3 types of benefits you’ll get from this walking exercise. I’ll give you examples from each type and at the end I’ll give you a few tips on how to have a great hiking trip.
The 3 types of benefits of hiking
Since hiking is a form of exercise, the first type of benefits that may come to mind are health advantages. We have all heard walking is good for you but when you are walking in hilly nature trails, the advantages certainly increase.
According to WebMD, some of the health perks of hiking are that it “lowers your risk of heart disease, boosts bone density and it builds strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs.”
Depending on the length of your hike and the weight you’re carrying, you can build muscle faster. Some people carry a heavy pack with materials needed during or after the hike. This will cause you to use your core strength in order to balance without toppling over. That is another benefit gained from this practice. Walking on an uneven terrain will also work core muscles.
Being that it isn’t hiking without a nature trail, this provides spiritual benefits for you. Humans evolved from working with and being a part of nature. Our ancestors were outside most of the day taking in sun, breathing fresh air, etc. Overtime, we have gotten away from that and the majority of us spend most of our days indoors.
Hiking is a great opportunity to reconnect with nature. We can’t deny the feeling of aliveness we get from being out in nature. Another spiritual benefit gained from hiking is mindfulness. Even when you hike with people, at some point it is easy to get in the zone and enter into a meditative walk. It is easier for this to happen on a nature trail because you pretty much have to keep your eyes on your walking path depending on the type of terrain. Adding intentional breathing boosts your mindfulness creating a spiritual practice.
Many times, a hiking trail leads to some sort of peak such as a waterfall or breathtaking view. After trekking a challenging nature trail, seeing the pinnacle oftentimes brings an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and connection. I know for me, it is at those moments where I feel the most connected to a higher power because I’m witnessing Source’s beauty. Being out in nature has the power to do this.
The final type of advantages you can get from hiking is mental benefits. These are some of the ones I hear most often. According to Stanford University, being out in nature can reduce depression. They go on to mention how nature boosts our mood and your overall wellbeing. Think of a time you spent outside. We may not have put thought into it but we know we feel better after spending a day out in nature. There’s just something about feeling the breeze, hearing the birds and seeing the countless trees.
Now you have health, spiritual and mental benefits of spending a day hiking out in nature. Hiking can be one of your self-care activities of choice.
Here are some last tips I suggest prior to walking a trail:
- Wear proper shoes. Make sure the soles are thick so you don’t hurt your feet walking on uneven terrain
- Dress in layers, preferably in dri-fit clothing
- Always let someone know where you are and the length of time you expect to be on the trail
- BRING PLENTY OF WATER WITH YOU (but don’t overpack)
- Look up the full trail on a map and take a screenshot on your phone in case you lose phone signal
- Always follow the trail marker and stay on the same trail to prevent getting lost
- Pace yourself and feel free to turn around when needed
- Have fun!
Let’s work together!
- If you’re really ready to create the life you want
- If you want to increase your happiness and feel more confident in who you are
- If you want to trust yourself more and live on purpose