Taking your first hike can be nerve-wracking, intimidating, and a leap into the unknown. You might have felt compelled to take that leap after seeing a friend’s enviable pictures from a local hike they did over the weekend or maybe you just want to get in some exercise that doesn’t involve going to the over-packed gym down the street. Whatever your inspiration may be take you first hike, there’s more reasons to hike than not to hike. In fact, I’ve listed ten below to help motivate you to take the hardest steps: putting on your workout attire, loading your hiking essentials into your car, and getting out the door.
- Physical Health – Not only is hiking a fun form of fitness, it is also beneficial for your physical health. Some physical benefits to be gained are weight loss, lower risk of heart diseases, improved blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
- Mental Health – Aside from physical health benefits, mental health benefits are also to be gained from hitting the trails. Exercise releases endorphins and hiking is considered a powerful cardio workout, especially hikes of moderate to strenuous difficulty.
- Fun! – If I could describe hiking in one simple word it would be: Fun. Unlike getting through another grueling, mundane, almost forced workout at the gym, most of the time hiking doesn’t even feel like work when taking in the majestic views and scenery trails offer.
- Building/Strengthening Friendships – Whether you are hiking with your best friend or an acquaintance hiking is an ideal activity for forging strong relationships and building friendships. Considering the travel time to and from the hike along with the duration of the actual hike itself, you will be spending quite a bit of time with this person therefor opening the door to building a stronger bond. Plus completing an inspirational experience together is an unforgettable memory.
- Exploration – Taking your first hike will inevitably lead you to a new destination. Taking more hikes thereafter will lead you to discover even more new places. If you become addicted like me, you may even find yourself journeying to different states to take in new sights.
- Food – If you’re anything like me, you enjoy a good meal after a grueling workout. After completing a hike, though I practice a healthy diet regularly, I don’t feel as guilty eating a cheat meal afterwards. This can also open the doors for trying a new restaurant near one of your hikes or visiting a food joint you don’t often frequent.
- It’s Affordable – Aside from the gas to get to the hike and initially purchasing a good pair of hiking boots, hiking is very affordable compared to any other sport. If you have easy access to parks and natural areas with trails, spending very little money (or time) is easy breezy.
- It Gets You Off the Couch – Getting away from digital technology is almost unavoidable these days but I force myself to leave my phone behind when I commit to taking a hike. Texting, watching TV, or doing a combination of both is a luxury but getting away from technology and outside to take in fresh air is always necessary once in awhile.
- Memories – Memories stay with you forever and being able to take in those memories with a loved one or friend is something you can relive together forever. If you’re able to capture a photograph, even better for looking back and reminiscing.
- Less Chance For Injuries – Hiking is a low impact activity, and is easy on your joints/body compared to other activities or sports. While some sports such as rugby or football have a limited life span for participants, hiking is something you can enjoy and experience when you’re both young and old.
Get out there and take your first hike, I promise you won’t be disappointed!