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5 MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF HIKING

Hike More, Stress Less. Be Happy

There amount of mental health benefits of hiking are innumerable. Hiking through a natural environment is more effective than simply taking a stroll through the city. While any sort of walking certainly has physical health benefits, walking through nature has the addition of mental health benefits. Hiking in a countryside environment offers increased mental benefits over walking through built-up areas. In addition, hiking seems to reduce the effect of the part of your brain that brings about bad moods.

“In every walk with nature, one received far more than he seeks.”

— JOHN MUIR
Girl with red backpack walking through aspen grove

MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF HIKING:

Hiking Leads To Positive Thinking.

Do you know what Rumination is? It is the tendency that some people have to over-analyse their own negative emotions and experiences. It starts as a thought and spreads like a cancer, affecting every area of your life. Before long, you might find yourself feeling low, alone, lost.

One of the mental health benefits of hiking is that it reduces the likelihood that one will over-think these experience. Sure, running on a treadmill is a great exercise for improving mental states, but a hike through nature is even better when it comes to fighting common mental health issues like stress and depression. The diverse scenery of forests, mountains, streets and beaches is a lot more fascinating than the walls of the average gym, so it’s not hard to imagine that a walk through nature – or even the park – makes us feel so much happier.

That’s right: going on a hike can help you shift your awareness away from negative thoughts and emotions. Nature has the power to put your negative thoughts on hold so you can enjoy the present moment. Live in the Now. Be Present.

A couple on a backpacking trip with dramatic lighting in the Sonoran Desert

MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF HIKING:

Hiking Lets You Be Present.

How often are you present throughout the day? Hiking provides a welcome break from the feeling of always being ‘switched-on’. We’re constantly staring at screens and checking our phones, always plugged in to the network of the world. Being present isn’t easy to do, especially with all the distractions present in today’s society. But what happens when you step away from the distractions and into nature?

According to a study by the University of British Columbia, when you step into the wilderness, you give your mind an opportunity to step outside itself. 

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

— HENRY DAVID THOREAU

Taking a hike can create the same effect you experience during or after meditation. You might notice yourself feeling extra calm, incredibly grateful, completely accepting, or best yet: your mind goes blank and you feel nothing at all.

Hiking can give you that rare opportunity to unplug so you can practice presence. When you are truly present, you are truly at peace.

Guy and girl having fun posing at the Ooh Aah Point sign on the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon

MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF HIKING:

Reconnect With Yourself And Others.

Relationships can be difficult, be it social, personal or business. Practicing hiking wellness is a fun and engaging activity to do with your family and friends. Among nature you are in a different, peaceful environment to reconnect and bond. Hence facing challenges together when of hiking can boost your relationships.

This time can also be used to build your self-esteem, escape the garble of life and strengthen yourself as a solo hiker. By walking along on a trail, you have now the time to think and meditate, zone out. Do you.

“Walking is a man’s best medicine.”

Hippocrates
Man sitting on a rock ledge in the Chiricahua National Monument

MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF HIKING:

Hiking Invites You To Slow Down

Do you ever get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of life? Hit the trail.

Spending time outside is an an opportunity for you to unplug from technology and tap into all the beauty that nature has to offer. Turn off your phone and give yourself the chance to be present in the world — to hear conversations and songs, to notice the way people walk, the trees sway, the way the shadows crawl along the trail throughout the day.

When we aren’t worrying about replying to texts or checking the likes on your new Instagram post, you’re more likely to enter into a state of presence. In this state, time seems to stop. It’s just you and your surroundings.

““Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.””

— RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Happy and healthy Asian girl walking on a summit near the town of Helena, Montana with a rainbow in the background.

MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF HIKING:

Hiking Can Exercise Your Creativity.

One of the mental health benefits of hiking that may not be so obvious is found in your creative world. Did you know that taking a hike can help you solve problems more quickly and creatively? You’ve probably heard the phrase “exercise your creativity,” which refers to the brain as muscle. Our creative mindset is triggered by physical movement, which is exactly why walking — whether with your dog, with a friend, or alone — is beneficial to creative thinking.

“They are able who think they are able.”

— VIRGIL

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TOP 5 MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF HIKING

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