There are many benefits of hiking. Mental health is often overvalued. In this article we discuss why hiking is good for mental health.
Hiking is a great way to enhance your mindfulness and create a life-long positive habit. One study showed that spending time outdoors in nature can actually improve your mind’s and make you feel better.
There’s something about getting out into the fresh air that just feels good. The fresh air, the sunshine, the scenery, the sights and smells. It’s a proven fact that spending time outside makes you feel good. Here are 7 reasons why hiking makes you feel good.
1. It Promotes Good Physical Exercise
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to many of the same health problems that regular exercise and a healthy diet can help prevent. Being active can help you feel better, reduce the risk of heart disease, and can reduce your chances of developing some forms of cancer, including colorectal and breast cancer.
Hiking is an excellent way to get the cardio exercise you need to stay healthy. It builds strength and endurance as well.
It provides an opportunity to clear your mind Our minds can be the biggest obstacle to making time for exercise. When you’re busy doing things that have to be done, or things that are important to you, it’s easy to put things off.
But hiking can make it easier to find the time.
2. It Improves Your Sleep and Rest
The body and mind must work together for us to live. That means we need to be active both mentally and physically.
When you walk, your body gets in the right position to deal with stress. It increases your circulation, oxygenation, and lymphatic drainage, which helps ease tension and improves your mental health.
It even helps you sleep better. Studies show that for every hour a person walks, he/she gets an additional 10 minutes of restful sleep.
Walking can be a great way to unwind after a busy day.
3. It Boosts Your Self-Confidence
Hiking for an extended period of time on a daily basis will help you build your confidence.
Are you the type of person who has trouble making decisions? You procrastinate too much? Have difficulty speaking up for yourself or fear rejection? Do you lack self-confidence and sometimes wonder whether other people even like you? If so, a simple way to overcome these problems is by taking up an activity that will give you more confidence.
Hiking has been proven to increase confidence and improve decision making.
Research has shown that the most significant change in self-confidence comes from being involved with a challenging endeavor. A study conducted by John Ratey, MD of Harvard Medical School showed that when we do things that are new to us, our brain produces dopamine which induces a feeling of generalized well-being and self confidence.
As you start to hike more often, you’ll notice changes in yourself and your life. You’ll be less resistant toward taking on new things and have more enthusiasm for the world around you. And you’ll be able to plan better—great for those who have trouble with procrastination.
Another study from scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine has found that hiking can boost your self-confidence.
The researchers tested self-confidence levels in 16 hikers after each completed a 32-km hiking trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Their results showed that the hikers’ sense of self-confidence rose after hiking.
“Our study suggests that a single one-day experience can boost self-confidence,” said lead author Gregory M. Walton in a statement.
This is particularly interesting because the hiking group reported feeling less self-confident than the control group at the start of the study.
4. It’s a Great Way to Spend Quality Time with Your Family
Relationships are the fabric of life. We are made to connect with others. Especially family and friends.
Hiking together is an enjoyable way to spend quality time with your family. You can get away from all the distractions of the city and spend some time getting to know each other better.
You can combine it with some other outdoor activities .Many people enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, rock climbing, hiking, and hunting. You can combine hiking with one or more of these activities and enjoy the benefit of spending quality time together.
Hiking allows you to get away from daily stresses. It’s a good way to let out your stress.
5. It’s a Great Way to Enjoy Nature
Is there a more natural or beautiful way to spend time outdoors than hiking? Besides the fact that you’re going to get a workout, you’re not doing anything else and so you don’t have to focus on anything else, hiking really gets your mind and body working together. This not only makes you feel good, but also releases endorphins to improve your mood.
Taking the time to get outside and away from electronics is healthy and helps to de-stress you from the stresses of everyday life.
There are few things in our busy lives that give us time to simply enjoy the world around us. Hiking opens up that opportunity to you. Sure, you might be focused on getting from point A to point B, but it’s amazing how fast those miles fly when you’re feeling nature’s beauty all around you—the fresh air and the clean, crisp smell of the mountains or forest.
You can take pictures of birds and flowers along the way or simply sit and daydream. Enjoying nature is good for our mood and can even help us to be less stressed out and more patient in daily life. Hiking provides an opportunity for healing and recharging.
6. It’s an Excellent Way to Disconnect from Technology
While it’s always nice to get away from your cell phone, the Internet and other electronic devices, one of the biggest reasons why hiking is good for you is because it allows you to disconnect from technology.
It’s so easy to feel pressured by those around us—even if we’re not “friends” with them on Facebook or following them on Twitter. We feel the need to respond in real time, and it can be hard to say no when others ask for our opinions or want our feedback.
While technology is awesome and can bring us closer to those around us, you can’t let it take over your life. By disconnecting from the electronic world, hiking gives you time to think about what’s really important to you. It will help you prioritize and clarify what’s really important in your life—and that makes for better decision making.
Disconnecting and unplugging also increases the quality of our relationships. We spend so much time connected to our devices we fail to plug in to our friends and family. What is meant to make our lives easier, actually hurts our relationships.
Getting outdoors helps us keep this in perspective.
7. It’s a Way to Connect with Your Friends
Hiking gives you time to spend with your friends and family. You experience different things and learn more about each other—great for boosting your relationships. You’ll be spending time together, enjoying nature and creating new memories.
When we’re hiking, we’re with people and that’s when we truly connect. We walk, talk and share ideas. You might be surprised to find out that you have more in common with your friends than you thought.
Hiking is also a great way to meet new people! We see it all the time—people who met on a hike or at a trailhead are now married or close friends.
Final Thoughts on Hiking and Mental Health Benefits
There are many benefits to hiking. The impact of outdoor activity on mental health is often overlooked or under-valued. We’ve discussed seven ways hiking improves your mental health and benefits your overall sense of well being.