The Benefits of Hiking

I don’t know about you, but life can be filled with too much noise leaving very little room for some peace. I switched from running to hiking in recent weeks.

And let’s be honest, hiking is more than just a walk in the park. It’s an adventure that comes with added benefits not just for physical but also for mental well-being. And sometimes all you have to do is go into your proverbial backyard ready to explore local trails.

Hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Improves Physical Health

Hiking is a great way to get your heart going and improve your cardiovascular system. In addition, it builds muscle strength as hiking engages multiple muscle groups. And if you do it regularly it helps you burn calories and maintain your weight. I’ve been experiencing some of those changes for myself as I find myself no longer sore as I venture out on 9-mile hikes.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Hiking offers a chance to unplug, breathe in the fresh air, and let nature’s wash away anxiety. Nature has a calming effect as well as the ability to boost your mood, which then can improve your overall happiness, and who doesn’t want more of that?

For the hours I am on the trail, I am not working. I am not reading emails or checking social media. Disconnecting from the digital world might initially feel strange, but it’s a vital step toward inner peace.

Boosts Mental Health

Hiking also provides an excellent opportunity for reflection and mental clarity. I have solved problems, worked out new products and services, and had new inspiration for art. It’s like with every hike, the mental barriers crumble, leaving room for newfound inspiration.

It Can Promote Social Connection

Hiking doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. You can find local hiking groups and meet others interested in hiking. And if you have family and friends who enjoy the outside is a great way to spend time together. While you find me solo hiking more than not, having shared experiences creates a deeper bond and lasting memories.

Provides a Sense of Accomplishment

Hiking can be a challenging activity, especially if you’re tackling a particularly steep or difficult trail. But I can’t tell you how satisfying that sense of achievement is after reaching the summit or completing a moderate hike. I am looking forward to going on a 13-mile trail hike that will challenge me not just physically but also mentally.

Improves Sleep

Spending time in nature and getting exercise can also help improve sleep quality. Hiking can help regulate your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. In addition to other lifestyle changes, I’ve noticed that I need less naps during the day and fall asleep much easier these days.

Offers a Low-Cost Form of Exercise

And given the price of gym memberships or elaborate equipment—hiking is a budget-friendly workout. With some good shoes, a hydration pack with room for food, and a spirit of adventure, the trails just a 30-minute drive can become your playground.

Are you hiking already? If not, what’s stopping you?

German by birth, living, hiking, and camping in the US. Addicted to Coffee. Enjoys going to concerts. Also, Artist + Author. I love to encourage you to explore beyond your backyard. 

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