When people are asked nowadays about what they like to do in their spare time, their answers usually are relaxing, watching TV, or playing video games. However, my answer would be hiking, which is my favorite outdoor activity. I love spending time in the nature because it clears my mind and fills my body with energy. It does not matter how bad the weather is, or how busy I am, I always manage to go for a walk every day and for a hike every weekend.
The constant stimulation we received in today’s world creates chaos in our body and mind. Getting into nature offers calmness and silence to our mind that have become rare and vital for survival in our contemporary society. Although hiking involves walking, there is a difference between the two activities. Walking is one of our fundamental movement forms that does not only benefit us physically but also mentally.
Even a 30-minute walk a day in the park can improve our self-esteem and our immune system against sickness and depression.
Some health coach also say that walking can increase our life expectancy by reducing the chances of diabetes and heart diseases. Who does not want to live longer or stay healthy? In contemporary society, our lifestyles have transformed from active to sedentary, which involves little or no physical activity. And the more sedentary we are, the more health problems we may develop. As a former personal trainer, I suggest everyone to take an hour of his or her day and go out to the nature.
Be it a park or just a pathway with trees, walking benefits not only the body but also the mind. It boosts our mood even when we are not expecting because it signals the brain to release endorphins, which is responsible for the positive mood. Walking also facilitates creativity that is why I always take a stroll when I am seeking for a solution for a problem. In addition, it helps those who suffer from insomnia.
A moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, exhausts the body enough and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Finally, walking brings us closer to nature and helps to compensate the tyranny of sitting. Although walking is a good way to break our sedentary lifestyles, hiking is the one that deserves the crown. The most striking difference is the location. Hikers’ path includes hiking trails in forests, mountains, and reserved parks while walking trails in city parks are made of concrete, asphalt, and gravel. Hiking is something more than just an exercise. For me, every step on the trail is enjoyable. Trekking up on the top always makes me happy because I get the feeling of accomplishment. I am always excited to explore new places and trails even though I usually have to drive couple hours to get there. When I get to the base of the mountain and see only one or two cars in the parking lot, I instantly feel that the mountain awaits me. The best time to conquer the top is at dawn because there are not many people on the trails at that time; therefore, I can focus on recharging my soul while admiring the breathtaking view.
The exhilarating feeling when I start walking on the trail brings me an adventure that is ever-changing with every step on the same path. The beauties of the blooming trees or the snow-covered peak remind me that we tend to take for granted what this planet provides us, and we forget about these phenomena hidden in the mountains. Despite the moderate physical activity to hike up the trail, I always look around and take up the time admiring my surroundings. For example, when the sun filters through between the leaves and illuminates them in different colors, I feel that my body fills up with positive energy, which act as a fuel for trekking up to the top. Also, when I see animals on the hiking trail playing around, I always wish my life was as carefree as theirs. The best part of hiking is the experience along the way.
On busy days, when my planner is full of appointments and errands I have to do, I usually just want to get home and relax. However, when I am hiking, I feel alive. Maybe, it is something to do with the fresh air in the mountains that erases all my problems. Although my legs get tired by the end of the hike, it cannot be comparable to the tiredness I feel at the end of a busy day in school. Indeed, I am exercising, but it does not feel like it. It feels that I am doing something amazing that recharges my body and soul. The emphasis of hiking is not on getting a good workout. Instead, its purpose is to give you a feeling of being alive through the adventurous experiences.
In summary, hiking means more than just exercising to me. It satisfies my need to be closer to nature and brings joy and happiness into my everyday life. The more stress we experience every day, the more our health degrades. Hiking provides a shelter for us where we can escape from our fast-paced society, traffic, and technology. It does not only offer you a breathtaking scenery but also calms your mind and body. All in all, hiking is therapy in nature that helps to recharge the soul and to increase happiness.