Many of you inquired about the benefits of hiking for children. After all, for parents, the thought of taking their kids on a hiking trip puts them into a dilemma.
But in a nutshell, there are a lot of reasons as to why children should explore the outdoors regularly. Parents and guardians should encourage their young ones to leave the comforts of their sofas and beds to venture into the wilderness. Numerous studies have already suggested that too much time indoors can cause different emotional and social problems among kids.
At the same time, hiking and other outdoor pursuits are great alternative sources of entertainment. They can easily supersede the quality of enjoyment that these kids get from their smartphones and computers.
While it is true that hiking requires preparation and training, it is worth the hassle. Sooner or later, your children will develop the necessary appreciation for this adventure, as well as the benefits that it brings to the body, mind, and the world as a whole.
Benefits Of Hiking For Children
It Helps Develop Their Courage And Self-Esteem
As your kids are growing, it is quite natural that they experience feelings of anxiety, hesitation, and fear. When they are dealing with the unknown, they are prone to get scared or afraid.
You have to nurture your children so that they can grow from this phase. The older they get, the more self-confidence they should gain. They should be brave enough to tackle all the challenges life brings them.
Hiking is an excellent way to inculcate these things in them. Every adventure is different from one another. During the trip, they will encounter new experiences and trials that could test their grit. Letting them leave their comfort zones is a sure-fire method of making them tenacious and eager to overcome challenges. The simple feat of completing a particular trail will boost their self-esteem!
Hiking Develops Their Mental Faculties
Another benefit of hiking goes to your cognitive abilities. For children, that’s a big deal already. Many think that hiking is just for the body. Well, that’s not actually wrong. However, if you think about it, this particular adventure brings more than making your body fit and strong.
Your little ones can grow sharper (in their brains) every time they hike. Keep in mind that every trail is different. You’ll encounter varying scenery, wildlife, and obstacles. These heavenly encounters would enhance the thinking capacity of their children to assess their environment. They would be able to perceive situations in a way that would benefit them. Furthermore, it strengthens the memory, as hiking requires you to memorize important skills and practices for the trip to be fun and safe.
Furthermore, there is empirical evidence that suggests clean air can improve people’s cognitive skills. Basically, breathing polluted air can deteriorate your mental functions. So if you don’t want your kids to get dull in the head, then the fresh air in the wild can prevent it from happening!
It Is A Form Of Exercise
Many children these days are living a sedentary lifestyle. They simply stay inside their homes, lie on their couch, and play with their phones for many hours. Of course, letting this persist will not do them any good in the long run. It will make them susceptible to various diseases such as diabetes and high blood. Furthermore, it is no secret that not doing anything can make your body either pale or obese.
So while they are still young, you have to let them grind their bones and muscles in the nearest trails in your area. Emphasize to your children that hiking can make them healthier and fitter. Your kids might not understand the importance of being physically fit while they are still young. But once they grow older, they will be so conscious about it.
In fact, many people appreciate the physical benefits that they get from the backcountry rather than in the gym. Of course, exercising in the gym is not a bad thing. However, what’s the use of treadmills if you can hike exceptionally beautiful terrains for hours. Teach this wisdom to your children. Let them experience the wonders that hiking can do to their bodies!
Hiking Can Be Educational
Education can take place in different environments, such as schools. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, learning was imported to the virtual platform. But since the effects of the pandemic are gradually dissipating, things are getting back to normal. You are free to send your children to their schools as long as safety protocols are being followed and observed.
But at the same time, there’s another environment where your children can learn different skills and knowledge. And that place is the majestic outdoors.
Here, there are no teachers, except you (as parents) and Mother Nature herself. You won’t encounter any blackboards, only endless canvasses of mountains and skies. While you are with your kids, there are multiple opportunities where you can teach them about navigation, biology, and geology. In fact, if you are trailing in a national park or historical trail, teaching bits of history is possible! Moreover, the outdoors serve as an excellent venue for you to teach life skills and values.
Of course, you can’t teach something that you don’t know. Therefore, parents should do some research and study before they head on a trip!
And the best thing about the outdoors is that it is never boring. You can always pique the interest of your young ones and absorb everything that you teach them.
Hiking Teaches The “Leave No Trace” Principles
The Leave No Trace principles are very important when we go out into nature. These principles help us preserve our natural surroundings by minimizing human impact. This includes leaving nothing behind but footprints, which helps prevent soil erosion and water pollution. Also, we must avoid disturbing wildlife habitats and plants. We also need to minimize campfire smoke and trash left around campsites.
When we follow all these rules, we leave a positive impression on others who visit those places later. So, encourage your children to practice the Leave No Trace principles whenever they go outside. They’ll love doing it because it makes them feel good inside too.
Hiking Lets Your Children Unplug To The Digital World
We live in a digital world today. It has become part of our daily lives. From work to school, shopping to socializing, we spend most of our days online. As much as technology has made our lives easier, it has also created problems like addiction and loneliness.
If you want your child to unplug themselves from the digital world, then hiking is one way to achieve that goal. There will be times when your children have to walk miles without seeing anyone else. That means they’re going to be alone. Alone time is essential for teenagers’ development. It allows them to think deeply about various issues and make decisions based on facts instead of emotions.
So, let your children enjoy the solitude while they hike through the woods. After all, it’s just a short break away from the busyness of everyday life.
It Improves Their Mental Health
One more benefit of hiking is its ability to improve mental health. When people get stressed out, their bodies release cortisol. Cortisol levels increase during stressful situations such as exams, studies, and even arguments between family members.
However, when we exercise regularly, our body releases endorphins, which reduce stress hormones. Endorphins are naturally produced chemicals found in the brain. They give us feelings of happiness and well-being. Therefore, hiking improves not only physical fitness but also enhances emotional wellbeing. If you want your children to stay healthy mentally, then take them hiking often.
Hiking has positive long-term effects on the mental health of children. It makes them more resilient and resistant against stresses and anxieties.
As mentioned earlier, hiking has numerous health benefits not only to children but to adults as well. It improves cardiovascular fitness, strengthens bones, increases lung capacity, and even reduces stress levels. All these factors contribute to making hikers more resilient against diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Moreover, hiking teaches valuable lessons to your children. Not just about survival skills, but also about respect towards other living beings. As a parent, you have the responsibility to instill these virtues in your children so that they will grow up to be responsible citizens of tomorrow.
So, let’s start planning our next adventure together!