5 Reasons Why Hiking is Good for You

5 Reasons Why Hiking is Good for You

We got some warm sunny days this week, which reminds me of spring and exercising outside again. Working out outside just feels different–it’s a lot more fun (and more of a challenge) to run outside than on the treadmill, for example. Another great outdoor activity that you can do for exercise is also . . . hiking. Hiking has a lot of benefits, not only for fitness, but also for your mental well-being. Next time you make plans for warmer weather, go hiking! Here are 5 great reasons why:

  1. It challenges your brain.
    Like running outdoors vs. a treadmill, you have to actually pay attention to where you take your next step. But with hiking, you’re on a trail that has many obstacles (like rocks, trees, slippery ground, steep terrain, etc.) and you have to pay attention and navigate through the trail, forcing you to focus and think more than if you were taking a walk or jog around your neighborhood. Hiking exercises a part of your brain that your standard workout won’t, which helps your mind stay sharp.
  2. It’s a great mental boost.
    According to studies, being in nature has psychological benefits for people. It can relax and clear the mind. Walking in green spaces, even somewhere in the middle of the city like Central Park, helps to disconnect and recuperate from the mental fatigue that comes from being around screens and the constant distractions we intentionally or unintentionally are surrounded by every day.
  3. It’s a good way to spend quality time with someone.
    Hiking is often an activity done with other people. Much like when you’re exercising with a friend, hiking creates a bond with your hiking partner(s). It’s also a good time talk without the usual distractions–like when you’re out shopping with a friend, trying to talk at a bar, or on a couch chatting with the TV on or your phone in your hand. Those are all scenarios where there’s too much going on to really have your undivided attention on the conversation. Being outdoors in a natural setting also contributes to a more positive mentality, which spills over into other parts of your life, like interactions with other people.
  4. Nature encourages creativity.
    Historically, many philosophers and artists have found inspiration from nature. Being in nature really does fuel one’s creativity. Part of it might be that you’ve drastically changed your surroundings (unless you live in a cabin out in the woods). Maybe being outside encourages the idea that there are no limits. Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for a creative outlet, try going hiking. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration.
  5. COVID is still a thing.
    And because of that, some things are still restricted. But hiking isn’t, and it’s fairly safe to do with friends. Also, if you spend most of your days indoors, it’s a great chance to stretch out your legs, get some fresh air, and soak in that vitamin D. 

I hope a lot more people make it a goal to go hiking this year. There are trails and parks near NYC for those who live here. It’s always good to mix things up–whether it’s your surroundings, activities, what you eat . . . Hiking is also a great way to reset your mind and body, and I think just about everyone could use some of that.


Leave a comment