The Beginner Hiker's Guide: Benefits to Making Hiking Your New Hobby
Written by Hannah Buck with Wild Soul Yoga & Adventures
Hiking is a timeless outdoor activity that offers numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. It's an excellent way to connect with nature, get some exercise, and clear your mind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you're a fitness enthusiast or simply looking to explore the great outdoors, hiking is an activity that welcomes all. Here, we'll explore the reasons why hiking is good for you and provide some essential tips for those who are new to the trail.
One of the most compelling reasons to start hiking is the opportunity to connect with nature. As urbanization and technology continue to encroach on our daily lives, spending time in the great outdoors becomes increasingly essential. Hiking allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world. Whether it's the serene silence of a forest or the breathtaking vistas from a mountain summit, the sense of wonder and tranquility that nature provides is unmatched.
Hiking is an excellent way to stay physically active. It engages various muscle groups, improves cardiovascular health, and enhances endurance. The best part is that hiking offers a customizable workout – you can choose trails that match your fitness level and gradually challenge yourself by tackling more challenging routes. Regular hiking can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your overall fitness, and even enhance your balance and coordination.
The mental benefits of hiking are undeniable. Being in nature, away from the constant buzz of technology and the demands of daily life, allows you to decompress and reduce stress. Studies have shown that spending time in natural environments can help lower cortisol levels, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. Hiking is like a therapy session with Mother Nature, offering you the chance to clear your mind and rejuvenate your mental health.
Hiking can be a great social activity (see our full group hiking calendar here). Whether you're hiking with friends, family, or joining a local hiking group, it provides an opportunity to strengthen bonds and create lasting memories. Sharing a hike with others allows for meaningful conversations, shared experiences, and the chance to connect on a deeper level.
Exploring new trails and destinations is an exciting part of hiking. It satisfies the human desire for adventure and curiosity. Each hike is a unique experience, with different landscapes, challenges, and surprises along the way. Whether it's a leisurely walk through a scenic park or a strenuous ascent up a challenging peak, there's always something new to discover on the trail. Check out our collection of local trail Bingo cards here and see if we have your city.
If you're new to hiking, it's essential to start with the right mindset and be prepared. Here are some tips to help you get started on the right foot:
- Choose Beginner-Friendly Trails: Start with easy, well-marked trails with short distances. As your confidence and fitness grow, you can gradually take on more challenging routes.
- Gear Up: Invest in comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing, proper hiking boots or shoes, and a good backpack to carry essentials like water, snacks, and a first-aid kit.
Plan Ahead: Research your chosen trail, check the weather forecast, and let someone know your itinerary. Always carry a map or GPS device.
- Stay Hydrated and Nourished: Drink plenty of water and pack energy-boosting snacks like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruits.
- Respect Nature: Leave no trace – carry out all trash and be mindful of wildlife and the environment. Stay on marked trails to avoid damaging fragile ecosystems.
- Hike Safely: Be aware of your physical limitations, and don't hesitate to turn back if conditions become unsafe. Always follow the basic principles of hiking safety.
Hiking is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of the natural world, improve your physical and mental health, and create lasting memories. The beginner hiker's guide outlined here will help you get started on your journey into the world of hiking. Remember, the most important thing is to enjoy the process and take the time to appreciate the little wonders you encounter along the way. Come join Explore More on our next hike!