If there is one exercise that can boost my mood instantly, it’s hiking. I fell in love with hiking about three years ago when I discovered a small hill in Tucson, Arizona; Tumamoc. It’s not the toughest hike that exists, but it has some steep inclines that with time helped me get fit. I walked it four to five times a week consistently for about 8 months, and the results were amazing. My legs were fit and had a lot of muscle, my butt got a natural lift, and my arms got toned. I also learned to breathe better and overall gained many health benefits from walking it constantly.
It had been a while since I was back on the trails, but lately I’m falling in love with hiking all over again. I’ve tried to go at least once every weekend because during the week I go to the gym. With the few times I’ve been back at it, I have already felt amazing benefits. Not only in the toning and fit department, but also benefits to my soul.
This past weekend my husband and I headed over to some hills near our city. The path looked so simple and not tough at all, but the reality was we were out of breath near the summit. Three hours later, we were tired and hungry! Overall, every hike to me is worth it because I experience a type of happiness that seems hard to explain. After this hike I reflected on how much I love it and why. This is what I discovered:
Reasons I Hike
1. Hiking boosts my mood
I believe this has to do with exposing myself to sunlight. After being inside, away from the sun’s rays, it feels so good to have the sun shine on my face and skin. Maybe it’s the vitamin D that I soak up that boosts my mood, but either way the sunshine is just a reminder of how beautiful it is to go outside.
2. Hiking connects me to nature
Nature brings me joy, especially when I reach a summit and have a view of the city. There’s something so magical about breathing fresh air and listening to the sounds of nature. I’m the kind of person who enjoys every moment and can see the beauty in what others might not see as beautiful. Whether it be a desert of dry grassland, it brings me joy to see my surroundings.
3. Hiking gives me a great cardio workout.
Not only does it give me a cardio workout, it also helps time pass by quicker than walking on a treadmill. My favorite hikes are ones that have steep inclines and rough pathways. If I need to climb rocks and maneuver my way around them, better! Every time I hike, I expect to sweat and to get my heart pumping.
4. Hiking tones my body
And this is the reason I like steep inclines. Hiking basically tones everything because you are using every major muscle group. My quads, butt, and hamstrings benefit the most.
5. Hiking helps me sleep better
Not sure if it’s the exposure to the sun or that I exercised for a long time, but either way I am sure to have a good night’s sleep when I go hiking. This is especially beneficial when stress and anxiety have kept me from sleeping well.
6. Hiking helps me feel achieved and accomplished
Since I usually hike places that have a summit with a city view, they tend to have some difficult steep pathways. Sometimes I will be out of breath and start getting that feeling that I can’t go any further, but I always push myself. It’s such an amazing feeling to have conquered a hike that was difficult. To have achieved and accomplished the goal towards making it to the end is indeed one of the best things about hiking. I can only imagine what I will feel the day I take on a challenge to hike the toughest mountains in this world. I think I will deserve some bragging rights!
So there they are, the 6 reasons I hike. I could go on and on about the benefits, but I’ll leave that for another post. I wanted to focus on the way hiking makes me feel.
Why do you like hiking and what are the benefits you have noticed it has done for you?