I’ve been going hiking every few months or so every year since my sophomore year of college. I didn’t start hiking until my friends got me to try it. Ever since then, I have decided to make it a thing between us, and after I started hiking in New Jersey, I’ve gone hiking in many other awesome places across the country. My favorite time to hike in New Jersey is during the summer because of the luscious green grass that and the flora.
As the spring semester is coming to its end, summer will soon find its way into the state. If you haven’t gone hiking before, this is now your chance to and you are in it for a ride! According to Backpacker.com, by 2060, adults will have the greatest growth rate in day hiking than any other outdoor recreational activity. Hiking benefits you, not just physically but also mentally. It encourages you to go deep within your inner mental and spiritual self in order to make you feel alive.
Here are the top reasons why you should try hiking this summer:
It is a great exercise for you!
Not only will it strengthen your core, but it will also train your breathing which will help your stamina. The great thing about hiking is that you can find your own pace and control the intensity of the hike. You’ll also learn balance and potentially build strength in any of your muscles. Among the other health benefits of hiking are the increased bone density and lower risk for heart disease.
2. Hiking is usually free!
Some activities, like kayaking and paddle boarding, require you to pay in order to enjoy the activity. Hiking, on the other hand, is free (for the most part)! It will not put a dent in your pocket or break your bank. Not only that… it’s rewarding in its own way.
3. You’ll be exposed to breathtaking and beautiful views.
Depending on where you hike, you’ll discover an array of nature’s beauty. A scenic drive might have similar views, but there’s something about hanging on the very top of a mountain and taking in the fresh air where you can overlook everything below you. This is definitely the type of reward I need from a long journey ahead.
4. You’ll discover exotic species, plants, and hidden gems.
Who needs to watch the Discovery Channel for this? There are awesome plants to discover and sometimes, hidden gems like waterfalls! I love when I see an eagle soaring across the sky as I hike up a mountain in New Jersey but it’s not so exciting when you have warnings of rattlesnakes along the trails (P.S. Pay attention to all the warning signs!) Don’t let this scare you though because this leads to my next point…
5. It’ll challenge you and help you face your fears.
As someone who has always been afraid of heights, I’ve learned to control my fear through hiking. Hiking has really challenged me to not be afraid to look down or to be aware of the fact that you’re going hundreds to thousands of feet up. You’ll also face your fears of thinking you might slip or fall from these heights, but it takes discipline to not let it bother you as you concentrate on the goal.
6. You’ll learn how to navigate yourself better.
Nowadays, we rely on GPS’s to navigate us anywhere. That is not always the case with hiking. Sometimes, you’ll lose your cell service, so the best thing to rely on when you’re on a hike is a map. It can be an online map that’s downloaded through data or an actual print map. You may also need to follow directions by finding hiking signs, ribbons on trees, or re-call landmarks. Either way, Siri won’t be much help in this.
7. You’ll relieve your stress and increase your energy levels.
Hiking comes jam-packed with a lot of adrenaline that will really find a way to relieve the stress you have. In the moment, you’ll also be too focused on what’s in front of you to think of the other stresses in your life. It can be a meditative experience for you which will leave you feeling really tired at the end of it all. This can be followed by a rush of adrenaline that releases endorphins that run through your brain to bring in euphoria.
8. It’s like a mini vacation!
You’re away from the office or a classroom. It’s not part of your day-to-day routine. You have the opportunity to bask in and interact with nature. Make the most out of it and try to stay away from your phone. After all, you’d need to pay attention to your steps ahead!