I’m sure you’ve heard it before – hiking is for everyone. It doesn’t matter where you’re situated, how long you are or what your physical condition is. The only thing that matters is that you’re willing to go out and hit the trail.
Still, many people don’t realize what the hype about hiking is all about. It’s just walking in the wilderness, right? Wrong.
What you might see just as stepping outside has a profound effect on both your body and mind.
But that can’t be explained in a single sentence. In this article, I’ll show you ten reasons why people like hiking, and why you might as well.
Keep on reading!
Why Do People Like Hiking? Top 10 Reasons
I could probably name at least 50 reasons why I enjoy hiking, but then we’d be here all day. Still, here are some of the most common reasons why it’s such a loved outdoor activity.
Embracing Nature’s Beauty
If you live in the city, then the greenest scenery you see every day is from your desktop wallpaper. From work to home and home to work, you’re surrounded by the boring concrete scenery and loud city noise.
But stunning views don’t have to be something you only dream about. You don’t have to go thousands of miles away from your place. There are surely tons of beautiful places in your vicinity. Now, unless you put on your boots and start hiking, you might never discover such locations.
You might not live close to a place that looks straight from a National Geographic photo. But the beauty of nature doesn’t just lie in unique locations that can’t be found anywhere else. Any outdoor place away from city noise can be beautiful in its own way.
You might get to see sparrows and pigeons every day, but most wild birds can be seen in crowded neighborhoods. But you can surely expect to see some amazing birdlife when going for a hike.
Depending on your hiking location, you might get to see quite a bit of diversity.
Certain birds might be there all year round, while others migrate during a specific time of the year.
When searching for them, don’t just look up in the sky. The treecreeper can be found on a tree trunk, while a lark bunting is commonly seen searching for worms inside the bush.
One thing to keep in mind though – no matter how close birds might come to you, refrain from feeding them. It affects their behavior in several ways and getting too accustomed to humans can get them in dangerous situations.
Alongside birds, you might also get to encounter wildlife on your trail. There’s something so beautiful about watching them in their natural habitats. Whether you’re at the beach, in a desert or going through woods, you’ll surely catch a glimpse of wildlife in the area.
The same rule applies here – don’t feed the animals. Getting too close to humans can be dangerous to them, and in some cases, to you as well. Would you like a bear to casually come close and take away your backpack with your hiking lunch? Didn’t think so.
It’s true that you should always be careful when watching wildlife.
You should do it from afar, without disturbing them in any way. But staying low doesn’t mean you’ll be bored. Just think about wolf cubs playing or mommy deer feeding her younglings (seen from far away, of course). Even the best of zoos can’t beat that!
It’s a Money Saving Activity (Budget Friendly)
Hiking isn’t hard on your wallet. The only thing you absolutely need is a good pair of hiking boots that will protect your feet while you’re out on the trail (just make sure to break them in).
For a hiking newbie, buying tons of proper hiking equipment is not on the to-do list. But if this activity turns out to be something you want to do every month or so, then you definitely can and should invest in pieces of equipment that will make hiking even more enjoyable.
What also makes hiking budget-friendly is the fact that you can do it practically anywhere. It can be in a popular national park, but also a secluded coastline or forest not far away from your home.
Mental Health Benefits
We can all surely agree that everyday life can get quite stressful. It revolves mostly around work, commute and chores, with occasional breaks to catch a breath. And in most cases, it’s not until we hit the wilderness that we realize how busy our minds were.
Getting out and enjoying fresh air has tons of mental health benefits, including:
- Lower anxiety levels
- Mood and energy boost
- Stress relief
- Lower risk of depression
- Improved sensory perception
Walking through the wilderness and breathing clean air can be quite a therapy.
So whenever you feel overwhelmed by everyday problems, just grab your shoes and hit the trail.
Physical Health Benefits
Aside from being beneficial to our mental state, hiking affects our physical health as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an adult can burn between 300-600 calories just by hiking for an hour.
Of course, the exact numbers depend on a lot of things, including your weight, the length of the trail, the type of terrain as well as how fast you’re going.
Weight loss is a more obvious benefit of hiking, but there are many others, including:
- Strengthening bones
- Lower blood sugar
- Lower risk of heart conditions
- Improves muscles
- Improved balance
- Lower risk of respiratory problems
As you can see, there are way more advantages than going to the gym.
Relaxing and Getting Away From it All
With all the benefits I’ve already mentioned, it’s clear what hiking can do to your body and mind.
Just imagine turning off your phone and the only sound you can see is the song of the birds or leaves swaying in the breeze.
All of your chores and tasks will wait for you when you get home. But for now, you can just enjoy the moment and forget about all of that.
Finding Your Purpose
It might sound weird at first, but hiking really can help you find purpose in life.
Just being out in the wild and exploring the outdoors reminds you how quickly life goes by while we’re busy just trying to survive.
And while it’s true that you can hike when you’re in your sixties, don’t wait until you retire to learn what your most important things in life are.
Discover New Things
The beauty of hiking lies in the fact that there are practically unlimited places you can go.
Some of them are just a few miles away. But if you’re tired of the same old scenery, you can pack for a road trip and hit the beach or the mountains.
There are tons of famous hiking trails that you can try out. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can go to a lesser-known, secluded place.
In any case, you can’t run out of places to hike throughout your entire life.
And you won’t just discover new places. Let’s not forget about other people on the trail you might encounter. Of course, you don’t have to socialize with anyone, but that’s a good way to find like-minded people and company for your next hiking trip.
As you can see, hiking is quite an enjoyable and beneficial pastime.
The best thing about it is – you make your own rules.
You can challenge yourself, or you can take it easy.
No matter what hiking is about enjoying what you are doing and getting a little peace of mind.