45 Reasons To be a Hiker – Part 3
This is the third in a series of reasons to be a hiker—as if you needed a reason! But if your friends, family, or co-workers are curious as to why you’re so into this outdoor obsession, pass them this list; maybe they’ll catch on.
Psst…did you miss Part II? Grab hiking reasons 12-23 here!
24. Hiking helps you learn to live minimally.
You don’t need much out there, and the more you hike, the more you come to this realization. Because so little is needed to experience some of the best days of your life (because hiking can create those!), you may start to view what you have at home as non-essential for your happiness. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a few hours of spare time on the trail.
25. Hiking can connect you with your spiritual side.
You’ve probably heard people say, “The outdoors is my church.” Whether you attend a physical church or are an adherent of the outdoors, there is a spiritual component to the outdoors. Surrounded by the quiet of the trail, you can contemplate and center yourself.
26. Hiking helps you handle unknowns.
Hiking helps you be more agile when life throws you a curveball because the trail itself is filled with curveballs. Your trail map may be outdated, the river crossing might be higher than normal, your shoelaces might break. There’s the good unknowns, too; the bends in the trail that lead to a new view, the people you meet out there that become trail partners, etc. Getting used to change in your everyday life—and learning how to deal with it—can be learned while hiking.
27. Hiking gives you a digital detox.
These days, even farmers and park rangers need a break from digital devices. The electronic world has so permeated every aspect of daily life that you can become overwhelmed because of it and not realize it’s affecting you. But take half a day to go hiking and you’ll start feeling refreshed after just half an hour. If the thought of social media creeps into mind while you’re out there, chances are you’ll feel repulsed. I chalk that up to needing more trail time—take it!
28. Hiking helps you get back in touch with your circadian rhythm.
Getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week improves sleep quality by roughly 65%. Add camping into the equation and by the end of your weekend outing, your circadian rhythm will be back in check, too, helping you fall asleep—and stay asleep—back home.
29. Hiking helps you feel secure in yourself.
You don’t need to actually summit something to feel pride in yourself, though that is part of the equation. As you gain knowledge of the outdoor world, get familiar with the trails available in your region, see vistas many others will never see, and feel your muscles working with each hike, you’ll gain confidence in your abilities and knowledge.
30. Hiking has an easy learning curve.
You learned to walk a long time ago. Congratulations, you are ready for your first—non-technical, of course—trail.
31. Hiking is a family-friendly activity.
Because of the ease of getting into hiking, this is something everyone in the family—from kids in carriers to great-grandparents and everyone in between—can get out and do together. And because there are no digital distractions, the focus can be on conversation and discoveries (leading to some great memories!).
32. Hiking can be a low-risk way to adventure in the wild.
Though every activity under the sun has its inherent risks, hiking is one of the lower-on-the-totem pole kind when it comes to outdoor adventure sports. Yes, there are technical hikes where risk is involved, but for every technical hike, there are dozens of easy trails out there.
33. Hiking requires little (to no) special gear.
Depending on the trail, you can get started in this activity with regular tennis shoes. Beyond shoes, all that’s needed to start out for short hikes is fueling up, slapping on sunscreen, and clothing that keeps you comfortable in the weather. As you work up in difficulty and trail length, you might invest in trail-specific shoes, a backpack big enough to hold water, snacks and supplies for longer hikes, and hiking poles. All in all, hiking places very few gear investments on your budget.
34. Hiking helps you appreciate the earth.
There’s a saying that “you can’t love what you don’t know.” If you want gain a true love for the earth—or help others gain one, spend time with it. On a related note, taking kids hiking helps them form a love for mother earth at an early age and will likely carry throughout their life. Hiking is a great way to help assure that at least a few of the next generation will have nature’s back!
Ready for more reasons? Check out the final post in Part IV!