5 Reasons To Get Outdoors And Hike
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Health and Wellness

5 Reasons To Get Outdoors And Hike

Time to unplug and reconnect with nature.

5 Reasons To Get Outdoors And Hike
Photo courtesy of the author

1. Health

We live in a society where health is the center of endless amounts of literature, news stories, and conversations. And yet many of us are still averse to actually exercising and advertise the fact on countless articles of clothing (Namaste in bed, thank you.) One thing we can do to change that? Make exercise more fun than sitting in bed binge-watching Netflix. What’s a fun way to exercise? Hiking!

Even if you don’t exercise much or have never gone hiking before, it is really easy to start because different trails have different difficulty levels. You can start out on a flat walking or biking trail through a forest, and work your way up to take the more uphill routes. Often times you won’t even notice you are exercising until you catch your breathing being a little heavier than normal.

Along with physical benefits, map-reading and/or orienteering can improve cognition, and sunlight provides Vitamin D.

2. Conversation

What’s better than exercising alone? Exercising with friends! And since hiking relies heavily on the buddy system you are going to be hiking with friends to begin with. As a former Girl Scout, I can attest that scout hiking and camping trips have provided some of the best conversations and funniest inside jokes of my life. And I still love to hike with my boyfriend and family as well. We all have offered encouragement to each other to help us get through difficult portions of a trail, and celebrate together after making it through. If you really want to get to know someone well, take them on a hike.

3. Unplug

Turning off your cell-phone is easier said than done. And while I am in no ways anti-technology, sometimes it’s good to take a break from our screens and enjoy the world around us. Too much time on cellphones can cause headaches, eye strain, and lack of sleep. Hiking provides a great break from our pocket-computers. For those of us that need a little extra incentive to put the phone away, many hiking areas do not have good cell reception to begin with. And with the views and conversations hikes provide, the only time you will want to pull out your phone is to take pictures anyway.

4. Inspiration

For centuries, nature has been a source of inspiration for art. As a modern day artist, I can attest that some of my best photographs (and the most well-liked ones on Instagram) have been from hikes I have taken. No matter your artistic medium (poetry, drawing, Snapchat), hikes can be the best cure for an inspirational block.

5. Spirituality

We are often so focused on doing, doing, doing, that sometimes we forget to just be. When you reach the view at the end of a hike, for a little while, everyone stops talking or looking at maps and just absorbs the beauty before them. For me, those moments are where I meditate on God’s creation and be grateful that I can experience such beauty in our world.

A good way to end a stressful week is to take a hike. Let the cool (or warm) air fill your lungs, find a place to sit down along your walk or hike and let your worries dissipate, even if only for a moment. Find something pretty to focus on" the trees, rocks, even dirt, and take a couple moments to just be. When you return to the world of to-do lists and obligations, you will be better equipped to tackle it because you spent time in the great outdoors.

Disclaimer: Please be safe while hiking! Always hike with a friend, know your own limitations, and never hike at night. Make sure someone outside of your hiking group knows where you are at and how long you will be in case an emergency happens. More exhaustive safety guidelines can be found here: http://www.hikesafe.com/ along with other online resources.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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