Five Reasons to Start Hiking Now
The typical answer when you ask someone how they started hiking would be something like this:
- “Well, I used to go walking in the country with my father/mother. And I learned how to survive in the wild and how to recognize wildlife and plants and just developed a love of the outdoors adventure. And hiking/backpacking was the only way to get there.”
- “I just started walking and hiking locally for exercise and to stay in shape. I hate gyms. I keep looking at the clock and wanting to finish. With hiking, you can’t finish until you get back to the trailhead. I learned my limitations and I learned how to plan my hikes and my longer adventures.”
- “Everything started while I was at school – maybe 9th or 10th grade when my geography teacher got me into hiking, taking me and my fellow students to a popular local trail. Next year, I became a member of a hiking club, got my first pair of trekking shoes, and the rest is history.”
People hike for many reasons - for enjoyment, for recreation, for relaxation, for a challenge, for change, to revitalize, to think, to connect with nature. There are as many reasons as there are people. Here are our five reasons for you to put on a pair of hiking shoes and start your adventure now.
Common reasons to start hiking
The challenge and reward of the accomplishment of reaching a destination
Let’s face it: hiking can be a challenge – a wet, cold (or hot), nasty, grueling challenge. You never know exactly what is going to happen on your trail. And that’s among its coolest features! A character is built in a place that demands every moment of your attention.
Think of yourself as an adventurous walker rather than anything else. No matter how tired you are (when your hike is finished), post-hike you realize that you've made a memory which will stay with you for a long time. Additionally, you might be exhausted, but this only guarantees you a refreshing sleep at the end of the day.
The uncertainty and discomfort of the unknown
Yes, uncertainty added to discomfort isn’t always equal to an adventure but it may well be. Some people immediately love the adventure and the possibility that they could still reinvent themselves. It also helps if you loath indoor gyms because hiking is an exercise without the tedium. Additionally, hiking can also be an exercise on the technicality. One thing keeps leading to another, and before you know it, you’re officially hooked on planning your next adventure.
Nature is authentic. An environment bereft of technology or ample, comfortable, well-lit spaces. It is inspiring and ennobling and you just can’t get enough of it. The uncertainty and discomfort of the unknown are frightening no more; you even welcome them because you realize that you have become an explorer and fear is not an option anymore.
Connect with nature
Whether on a quiet walk in the summer woods, an exciting scramble high in the mountains, a long-distance trail hike, or a journey in the snow and cold of winter, nature has got a lot of resources to offer. Enjoy it without destroying it. Just get out and enjoy nature, fresh air, spectacular views; get away from people and mundane activities. Vast wilderness, beautiful sceneries, serenity… Nature offers all these and more. Big trees that can be more than 100 years old and the sounds of birds can literally make you a new person.
Photo by Gordon Hatusupy
Physical and mental benefits
There are many reasons why going for a hike is best for your health. No doubt, hiking is considered to be an exercise which decreases blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart disease. Frequent hiking will lower the risk of type 2 diabetes (hiking helps you control or even prevent diabetes because it lowers your blood sugar levels), fight osteoporosis and arthritis by developing strong bones. It helps you exercise muscle groups and burn excessive calories. Hiking is also a natural way for relieving stress – it improves your mood. A short-term bonus is that it really doesn’t feel like exercise. It actually boosts your energy. A long-term bonus is that this experience creates moments that will live in the memory for a lifetime. You will recall the jagged peaks of the Rockies; walking through timeless and eternal primeval forests; watching the sunset over glacier-clad mountains, and the joy of being in the natural world among animals and plants. Priceless.
Source: Fix.com Blog
A cheap form of entertainment with some additional benefits
If you have the right attitude, hiking is never boring. It can actually be very entertaining, especially if you have a companion or two. The more the merrier! Plus, interaction with the larger hiking community encourages you to engage with your workout as a lifestyle, rather than a chore, which will make you more likely to stick with it for the long haul. Additionally, spending some time hiking in the outdoors is much healthier than eating popcorn at the local movie theater.
One thing’s for sure – whichever reason you choose you won’t go wrong. So, just get a pair of comfortable trekking shoes and start hiking.