We all know that hiking or even just taking substantial walks is good for our health. In fact, brisk walking is one of the healthiest ways to get more physically active. I always remember our family physician reminding us that even if you don’t have time to go to the gym and exercise, make sure you walk.
By this, he didn’t even mean to walk distances. What he meant was to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, or to walk to a close destination instead of using using the car. The little changes allow us to get enough physical activity that the modern technology laden world has somewhat taken away.
Hiking Makes People Happier
As an addition to the health benefits of hiking, studies have shown that people who hike are happier. In a recent publication of Ecopsychology, researchers ran a large scale study to observe the effects of walking in nature, specifically on how it affects a person’s well being.
The main goal of the study was to see how the mental, social and emotional well-beings of individuals who participated in group walks in nature. The study covered close to 2,000 participants who walked in nature for at least once a week.
After 13 weeks, compared to a group that did not do any “nature group walking”, the group that did regular walks showed less stress, and were more positive mentally. The time away from their daily routine and in nature allowed them to get relief from stress. It has also shown to reduce the risk of depression.
Walking for Physical and Mental Well-Being
This is just another reason for us to increase the amount of walking in our lives. One positive benefit of hiking is it allows us to free ourselves from the usual environment and surroundings we typically see. And by going into nature we see, hear, breathe and experience things that are different which gives us the chance to relax and de-stress.
While the physical benefits of cardiovascular exercise may be obvious from hiking, or even just walking. We often overlook the fact that just detaching ourselves and taking a walk in nature allows our brains to reboot and relax.
But before you go out and start your first hike, do take time out to prepare yourself for this outdoor activity. Like most things, you don’t want to jump into things and expect to learn everything on the first day. For this reason, taking short, easy hikes are recommended to start with. Also if possible, have a companion with you. If they’re an experienced hiker, so much the better since they’ll be able to pass on their knowledge.
Another good idea would be to read some books on hiking, two good tiles are:
Knowing what to wear when you go out into nature for a walk is very important, here is something that will brief you on what you’ll need. Depending on the climate and season, do consider wearing the right clothes when going out on your hike.
Also, make sure to bring the proper gear on your day hike, here’s our reference on that. This will ensure that you are prepared for whatever happens and also on what you are about to take on. Having the proper items with your lets you enjoy the time more.
Finally, learn the proper etiquette. Yes, there is such a thing. For one, you’ll be sharing the trails or paths with other hikers, so you’ll want to know how to behave so as not to get in their way or feel uncertain about yourself.