Hiking for Mental Health: 4 Benefits to Going on a Hike

Rilor Staff
Update: June 21, 2022
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Hiking is good for the body, but not many people mention its benefits for your mind. You see, people these days are exposed to stress-causing situations and factors. Accordingly, at least 80 percent of Americans experience stress every week. That number is something that you can't ignore. 

While there are several activities that can help you alleviate stress, hiking is something that you should consider first. Read on and learn more about the benefits of hiking to your mental health. 

What Is Hiking?

In general, hiking is an activity that involves the outdoors. Using your feet, you traverse various routes and paths within your vicinity. A hike may involve some little climbs, but for the most part, it is typically accepted that walking long distances is already hiking. 

The duration of a hike varies, as well. Some hikes can be as short as thirty minutes. Others can last for half a day. In some cases, hiking can take several days or weeks. So in a sense, there's no such thing as "one size fits all" when it comes to the nature and extent of hiking. 

The only thing that fits into a single picture here is the benefits that hiking can provide. When you hike, you can acquire the following benefits. 

What Are The Benefits Of Hiking?

Physical Health

Your body needs exercise. It is not something that you can ignore, especially since the lack of exercise could deteriorate your health.  

Fortunately, the outdoors can become your gym. It is the best place to get the grind that your body requires. And you don't need special equipment, either. With a pair of comfortable hiking footwear, you can traverse various terrains and acquire bodily boosts at the same time. 

These are the things that hiking can improve your system:

Hiking in numerous destinations and land formations regularly can keep you healthy, strong, and fit. If you love the outdoors more than the swampy gym, then hiking is the perfect workout routine for you. 

Here's a video on how to train for a hike!

Social Health

Another great benefit of hiking is your social health. Specifically, this pursuit doesn't just develop your mind and body. It also elevates your ability to connect with other people--even strangers. 

Hiking is a good way to reconnect with your family, friends, and individuals you want to get along with. Since it is an outdoor adventure, you can talk about a lot of things. While treading the lengthy path, you'll discover something about those people and even about yourself. 

It is not a new thing anymore that people acquire new social circles after a few hikes. In fact, many hiking clubs and societies are built on the idea of strengthening partnerships through countless outdoor pursuits. 

If you want to expel your shyness or introduce yourself to someone else, the outdoors will be a good place to start!

Environmental Benefits

Surprisingly enough, hiking also benefits the environment. As a matter of fact, hiking has been pivotal in environmental activism and movements. After all, this adventure teaches you about the world around you. 

A first-time hiker would be able to know all the local terrains within the vicinity. It helps in creating awareness and establishing appreciation. Once you get into the trail, you'll eventually be mesmerized by the beauty around you. In turn, it would create the drive to protect and preserve these ecosystems. 

Hiking is a form of environmental activism. The more you hike, the more you realize that there are a lot of things that you can do to protect natural habitats and wildlife. It will even let you learn the Leave-No-Trace principles and their importance in keeping the sanctity of outdoor settings.

Benefits Of Hiking In Mental Health

We have already mentioned some of the fundamental benefits of hiking. This time, let's talk about how hiking can alleviate your mental health. 

Hiking isn't just a simple pursuit to strengthen the body. It is also there to improve your mental faculties, allowing you to think better. If you suffer from various mental health problems, such as stress and depression, hiking can help. 

Here are some ways hiking can help your mental health. 

Promotes Endorphin Release

According to the American Public Health Association, people who are constantly surrounded by nature have relaxed, clear minds. In this case, any hiking pursuit may aid in removing the stress and turmoil going on in your head. 

Furthermore, hiking promotes the production of endorphins and other hormones that can elevate your mood. You can experience the same effects while you are doing other physical activities. If you have the opportunity and time, make sure that you can hike once a week. Doing this would make you feel better, allowing you to experience more positive feelings. 

It Helps In Exercising The Brain

Another benefit of hiking is that it can enhance your mental aptitude. While you are exercising, you are freeing yourself from various mental constraints. As a result, you will be able to think better and faster. It lets you sort out whatever priorities or issues you have in your life. 

At the same time, hiking is also a way of exercising your brain. The adventure gives you enough time to enhance your logical processes. While you are sweating, you are also removing the excess cargo in your head. This enhances your mental clarity; it can also help sharpen your concentration.

Hiking Is An Act Of Disconnecting

Outdoor adventures enable you to escape the surly bonds of your life. There's a point in your life when you will be exhausted by your work, family life, and even your social circles. In fact, your social media world may also be causing you stress and anxiety right now. 

It's not easy to go beyond these things, especially if you are within their proximity. Hence, you may need to leave once in a while. Hiking is a great way to do so. While you are outdoors, you are unplugging yourself from the rest of the world. It is you and nature alone. You don't also need to bring your phones here. It is enough that you have yourself and your desire to breathe a little. 

It Rejuvenates Your Energy

You should also consider hiking because of the energy-boosting benefit that it provides. Every time you hike, you regain parts, if not all, of your lost motivation and drive to do better. Of course, it is natural that you will lose these things. From the exhaustion you encounter every day down to the sudden problems, these "inhibitors" can really drive you low and dry. 

It's not easy to get yourself back together. Mental exhaustion is something that can't be treated easily. Hence, hiking is just one of the possible remedies for this. You should take advantage of that free time of yours to rejuvenate yourself. Free yourself from the worries, and you will eventually feel alright. 


Hiking is not just about improving your physical health or achieving certain goals in life. It is also a form of rest for the brain. While hiking, you can regain a part of yourself. It lets your mind relax from various stresses, which, in turn, frees you from unwanted worries and burdens. 

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