How you spend your free time shapes you as an individual from within and without. Well, there’s no better way to spend a free weekend than exploring the outdoors and if you guessed right, hiking is about the best outdoor activities you can indulge in. From enjoying challenging adventures to experiencing the wild and taking pictures of beautiful scenery while getting fit, hiking comes with dozens of benefits for you to gain.
As long as you’re equipped with the right protective gear and survival tools, you’ll have so much fun in your hiking trip such that you can’t wait for the next one. Some of the most important things to include in your hiking checklist may include a backpack, weather-appropriate clothing, navigation tools (like a map and compass), food, lots of water, some insect repellant, sunscreen, a first-aid kit, and a tent in case the weather gets tough while you’re out there. You will also need a good pair of hiking footwear. Shaun Baird from 10 Warriors (https://10warriors.co.uk/) says that the ideal hiking boots are waterproof and have a good grip. These will make it easy to navigate through essentially any terrain, making your hiking trip a successful and enjoyable one.
Once you’ve chosen a good hiking trail, picked a great day, you’re all geared up, and good to go, it’s when you start enjoying the numerous benefits of hiking. Well, forgive the slight mumbo jumbo, let’s skip right to the main point.
Here are all the reasons you should take up hiking as you spare time activity.
It’s Great for Your Health
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons you should go hiking every now and then is that it has numerous amazing benefits for your health. This is especially tied to the benefits of walking. It’s a form of physical activity that you can incorporate into your weight loss or “keep fit” plan as well. Additionally, regular hiking can help reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease, while increasing your muscle strength and endurance. Hiking regularly can also help slow down the aging process. It’s good for your physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. Other health benefits you could get from hiking include:
- Stress relief – Owing to the busy schedules we have from morning to evening in this age and day, life can be full of stressors. Most of us are always juggling in between jobs, parenting activities, keeping up with their social lives, and so on… it can sometimes feel like a nightmare. Hiking has been proven effective in reducing the levels of cortisol in the body, which makes it a powerful stress reliever. Additionally, this exciting activity has also been shown to help reduce anxiety as well as depression. It even works better when combined with activities such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga while out there in the bounds of nature.
- It can make you happier – You are more likely to feel happy when not stressed. In addition to being an exciting activity, hiking can also help kill negative thought patterns in your mind.
- Improved memory – Along with relieving stress, studies have also found that spending time out there in nature can help improve memory and recollection.
- Improved sleep quality – Next to diet and activity, sleep quality is among the various things that affect an individual’s overall wellbeing. When hiking, you’re exercising your body and stimulating the release of chemicals that promote sleep.
- Can improve your problem-solving ability – Research has it, that outdoor activities such as hiking can also be a great way of enhancing your creativity and cognitive ability. This can improve your attention circuits, thus improving your problem-solving ability.
In a nutshell, the list of health benefits you can get from hiking is literally endless.
It Can Make You Have New Friends
Whether you’re hiking solo, with family or with a bunch of strangers, hiking always creates you an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. It’s even better these days where social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have made it easier for people to keep in touch after meeting and creating a connection for the first time. Except that when you meet a new person through a hiking adventure, your bond will be stronger compared to meeting a complete stranger via social media. This is especially because you shared an experience and what’s more, it creates a window for the two of you to agree and meet up sometime in the future. And who knows, you could also meet that special person… the love of your life through a hiking expedition!
An Escape from The “Cruel” World
When outdoors, you get a chance to escape from your busy work schedule, noise from traffic, congestion in the streets, those annoying pop-ups from your tech gadget, and other day-to-day hassles. When on a hiking adventure, you get to let it all go and live the moment while enjoying the marvels of nature. It can be a great way to take a break and come back with renewed zeal. This is actually why most companies encourage outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, mountaineering, and trail-walking.
A Good Dose of the Sun and Fresh Air
If you’re a busy working professional, there’s a high chance that you leave your home early in the morning and get home late in the evening when it’s dark. You never really get the chance to give your body the good dose of sun’s vitamin D it deserves. On top of this, nothing beats the amazing feeling of breathing in fresh, cool, natural air while out there in the woods. It is both healthy, refreshing, and undoubtedly indescribable.
A Learning Experience
While walking out there in the woods, you also get a chance to see and discover plants and animals you might not have known existed before. If you’re hiking with the kids, it also gives you an opportunity to teach them the world outside the home, school, in the city and the things they see in indoor settings. It even gets better if you’re hiking in the presence of a guide.
The Views Are Just Amazing
Last but not least, hiking is a great way to explore the beauty of nature. Talk about trees, waterfalls, lakes, mountains, hills, it’s all full of extreme beauty.
While hiking can be a bit challenging and perhaps painful for first-timers, it’s all worth the effort. You get to learn, see new things, enjoy, and stay healthy. With the above pointers in mind, you will definitely agree that as long as you have time, the weather permits it, and you’re equipped with the right gear, every day should be a hiking day!