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7 Ways Hiking Recharges Your Mind and Body

A man and woman hiking.
Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Hiking along rocks and roots not only gets you out in nature, but it also exercises your body, while nurturing your mind and soul.

Beyond health and happiness, there’s also a lot you can learn about yourself when you’re exposed to the breathtaking beauty only Mother Nature can provide. Here are seven reasons hiking is excellent for your well-being.

Being in Nature Makes You Happy

One of the many excellent perks that come from hiking through wooded forests and mountains occurs deep within. Research links hiking to numerous benefits, including elevated moods and improved health.

Some benefits are immediate, while others, like a decrease in depression, might transpire over time. Healthcare providers are even beginning to partner up with local natural resource agencies to promote nature-related activities.

Also, sunshine is an excellent way to get some essential vitamin D, which also naturally boosts your mood.

It’s an Excellent Workout

Trekking up and down hills is a sure way to get your heart pumping. It’s an excellent cardio workout. You’ll also notice walking uphill causes a bit of a leg burn. This means you’re working and strengthening your muscles, including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

Keep in mind that balance plays a significant role in physical fitness, and hiking over an ever-changing terrain will help with that.

Being Out in Nature Can Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Research shows that spending quality time in nature reduces stress and anxiety. Stanford researchers also found that walking in nature lowered the risk of depression.

Taking in some beautiful sights is an excellent (and inexpensive) way to improve your mental health. It’s a unique way to clear your mind and forget about your busy life, while also lowering your blood pressure and overall stress levels.

In fact, it’s such a fantastic mental-health tonic that, in Japan, the practice of hiking and sitting in nature is called “forest bathing.”

Hiking Gives You Quality Time to Reconnect

Heading outdoors and focusing on putting one foot in front of the other is a great way to clear your mind and focus on the beauty that surrounds you. In everyday life, we’re inundated by flashing technology and multiple tasks that can overstimulate or overwhelm our brains.

Being out in nature is an exceptional way to balance your mind and recharge. If you’ve got a problem to solve or feel like your creativity is blocked, hanging out with the bees and the trees might help.

Nature Is Humbling

A pair of hiking boots with a mountain range and river on the horizon.
Olga Danylenko/Shutterstock

You work hard all day trekking up a steep climb or over large boulders as the hot sun beats down on your back. What awaits you, though, are breathtaking views of moving mountains that are larger than your eyes can grasp.

There’s something so humbling about realizing you’re just a tiny little creature on a majestic mountaintop, and that the world is so much larger than you know. After returning home from such a hike, you’ll have a renewed appreciation for nature’s gems.

You’ll Learn About Yourself

The risks and dangers of nature, including fast-moving water, and rocky landscapes, might require you to improvise and overcome some challenges.

Whether that means a rolled ankle or running out of water, you’ll learn a lot about yourself during the scarier times. While improvising is sometimes necessary, setting yourself up for success is always best. Here are 10 essentials you’ll want to pack for your first hike.

Hiking with Someone Creates an Incredible Bond

Many people enjoy the rejuvenating experience a solo hike offers, but having a buddy to share the experience with is lovely, too.

Along the way, you’ll provide each other with helping hands, plus you’ll create some special memories. You’ll likely find that the bond and camaraderie created between friends while on an adventure in the woods or mountains is unmatched.

Spending quality time in the great outdoors offers an unfiltered, authentic experience you just can’t get from other activities. Being present in the moment and taking in the beauty of nature will boost your mood and give you a nice break from your busy life.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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