Whether you’re looking to get into shape, lower your stress level, or simply give your brain a break and spend some quality time with nature, hiking is the answer.
Assuming that you haven’t lead a completely inactive lifestyle up to this point, you can follow a few simple steps and start hiking immediately. Now if it’s motivation you’re lacking, consider these 5 reasons, as featured on About.com, to make hiking your new go-to recreational pastime.
1. It’s Healthy. According to the American Hiking Society, hiking is incredibly beneficial to your health. By using hiking as a means to stay physically fit, you can not only potentially lose weight, but also “reduce heart disease, decrease hypertension, and slow the aging process”. Additionally, hiking helps reduce stress and anxiety.
2. It’s Simple. It goes without saying that the more you hike, the more stamina you’ll develop. You’ll gain more skills and increase your comfort level on the trail. But at the end of the day, hiking, in its essence, is walking upright on two feet. And what activity is more inherently human, than walking?
3. It’s Cheap. Hiking does not break the bank, especially when you compare the cost to practically any other sport. You need good boots, proper clothing and a comfortable pack. That’s generally it. There are no league fees or high equipment costs. Additionally, parks and natural areas are fairly easy to access for the most of us, so there are no additional travel costs required.
4. It’s Real. In today’s technology driven world, we spend much too much time in front of computers, the TV, our phones, etc. Hiking allows you to step away, take a breath and recharge in a natural environment. It’s a chance to experience the world without a filter; without an agenda. “Hiking is an unscripted experience where spontaneity is the rule”.
5. It’s Forever. Unlike other sports, hiking is for life. A lot of other activities come with a pre-determined expiration date, either due to injuries or logistical challenges (when was the last time you got 10+ people together to play soccer?). But since hiking comes with very little risk and is low impact, it is something you can keep up, long after your football days are over.
Granted, you may not get up the mountain as quickly once you’re older, but you’ll be a much more experienced hiker at that point, which arguably means you’ll be a better hiker.