For over a year now, hiking has been my go-to. In times of stress, anxiety, happiness, sadness, or stir-craziness. To some, it’s an amazing adventure to bestow upon, and to others, they would rather drop dead than go out in the woods. Regardless of your point-of-view, hiking is more than just going to the nearest national or state park to hop on a trail. It’s more than just getting dirty and sweaty in the heat of summer, or finding a waterfall at the end of a trail to post on Instagram. It’s a way of life. And this is why I choose to do it:
It’s mentally freeing. Hiking is my anti-depressant.Without hiking, I seriously wouldn’t be able to function as a normal human. My anxiety would swallow me whole. It’s been scientifically proven that by getting out and being active, your body will produce endorphins – feel good chemicals – in your body, causing anxiety and depression to stay more at bay.
It’s better than a gym. Most people spend hours (and lots of money) in a crowded gym each week. Me? I do my workout outside for free (or $2 if you go to a state park)! Not to mention, it’s the most stress-free workout ever. Because of the gorgeous scenery, you won’t even realize that you’re actually working out. Hiking works way more muscles than a treadmill or step climber because no one step is exactly the same.
It’s visually pleasing. I dare you to go out on a hike and not be amazed by what you see. Nothing beats walking on fallen pine needles after a light rain, or being surrounded by the crisp, Fall leaves. How about hikes that lead to waterfalls or lakes? It’s impossible to not stand in awe at some point throughout your hike.
It’s quiet. Hiking has given me a new appreciation for the stillness of life. Some of my most favorite hiking moments are those spent in silence, in the woods, on a trail with people that I enjoy greatly. In those moments, I experience a kind of closeness with my hiking buddies that I could never experience during the normal hustle and bustle of life.
It’s a place to learn. Not all classrooms have four walls. Nature has an abundance of learning opportunities. You can learn about wildlife, flowers, or state/national parks and their history. However, the biggest lessons of all are those I’ve learned about myself through hiking.
It’s easy and challenging. I once saw someone describe hiking as customizable, and I love that! It’s so true. Hiking can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. If you’re up for a challenge, go for a bigger climb. Feeling kind of tired? Choose the easy trail. You get to choose what trail you’re in the mood for.
It’s pet-friendly. If my dog can’t go, neither can I. Hiking is great for not only you, but also your dog! Some of the best times spent with my dog are those spent together on a trail.
It’s exciting. Hiking? Exciting? Yes, you read that right! Nothing is more exciting than reaching your hiking goal that you’ve been working up to for months. Hiking gives you the feeling of accomplishment. Each new mile is a reason to celebrate!
It’s always an adventure. I’ve learned to start a hike with the thought, “what’s going to happen this time?”. Every hike, in itself, is an adventure. I’ve gotten caught in a few monsoons, almost stepped on snakes, and climbed numerous trees. Be open to adventure!
It’s my happiness. I love hiking. I couldn’t imagine life without it. I look back and am thankful for all of the adventures I’ve gone on. Moving forward, I’m very excited to visit new parks, explore new trails, and achieve new hiking goals!
Have you been hiking? What are your reasons for hiking? Let me know in the comments!!