Whether you’re looking to lose weight, reduce stress, or simply clear your head and get out into nature, hiking delivers almost immediate rewards.
It’s also a sport that doesn’t tolerate procrastination or excuses for very long. Assuming you haven’t been leading a totally sedentary life, you can follow a few basic steps and begin hiking right away.
And if you’re looking for some motivation to get off the couch and onto the trail, consider these reasons to start hiking.
It’s Healthy. Is it ever! While there is a growing amount of hiking-specific research, studies of the benefits of walking are equally applicable to hiking.
According to the American Hiking Society, hiking delivers a remarkable range of health benefits with comparatively few risks. By using hiking as a way to stay physically active, you can potentially lose weight, reduce heart disease, decrease hypertension, and slow the aging process. It also offers mental health benefits by reducing stress and anxiety.
It’s Simple. As you hike more frequently, you’ll begin to develop additional stamina, skills, and comfort on the trail. But let’s face it, what activity is more fundamentally human than walking upright on two feet?
The beauty of hiking is that unlike, say, land luge, it's an extension of something we all do naturally and every day. You will improve over time but the initial learning curve is almost non-existent. It’s easy to stick with hiking because the frustration level for beginners is low and you can control the intensity of your workout and find the pace that works for you.
It’s Cheap. Compared to just about any other sport, your upfront spending for hiking essentials is minimal.