9 Amazing Benefits of Hiking – Physical, Mental and Social

What is important, however, is to retain a sense of perspective. The statistics listed above are just a few examples of how our world is actively changing, and if we don’t stay aware of the impact, we can lose sight of just how important it is to actively disconnect from time to time.

Enter hiking. It’s a simple point, but in modern times, it’s become one of the biggest benefits of hiking – it gives us a chance to unplug. A long hike is a physical reminder that the world we live in is beautiful, vast, and varied – and yes, it’s still there even when we have our heads buried in the bottomless pit of content that is Twitter.

Making hiking a regular part of your routine is an absolutely fantastic way to deliberately pull your attention away from the digital world, and reconnect with the things that really matter. 

8. Hiking makes us happier

We’ll caveat this point by the fact that everyone is different. The assertion that hiking makes us happier would probably be viciously refuted by the average 14-year-old, whose cries of ‘But do we have to?!’ will strike a resonating chord with any outdoorsy parents or relatives who have ever dared ask the kids to lace up their boots and help them pack a picnic.

With that said, it’s worth noting that one of the best benefits of hiking is that it can actively contribute to increased feelings of happiness – particularly among those who struggle with depression, or low self-esteem. One study found that in the most extreme cases of high-risk suicide patients, mountain hiking led to a drastic decrease in feelings of hopelessness.

This may sound like a slightly backwards point, as this seems to suggest that hiking doesn’t actually make you happy, it just makes you less sad (not quite the same thing). But happiness is a complicated thing – and the chance to share an afternoon with loved ones, out in the beauty of nature? Ok, maybe we’re being self-centred, but it certainly makes us happy… 

9. Hiking can be a great boost to our social lives

This one depends a lot on how you approach hiking, and the way it fits into your own routine and lifestyle, but there’s a solid case to be made for the benefits of hiking on our social lives. One of the great things about hiking and walking as a hobby is that there are almost no restrictions on who can take part, and how they can go about it.

social benefits of hiking

Social Benefits of Hiking

Granted, if you plan to soar up Mount Snowdon, you might want to prepare a bit first, and it might not be suitable for complete newcomers (see our account of our own experience climbing Snowdon for a few useful tips!) but generally speaking, hiking is an incredibly inclusive thing to try.

This means that as activities go, there are few better ways to enjoy the company of friends, loved ones, and even strangers, than by engaging in a hike together. What’s the main way to pass the time during a long hike?

Chat, about anything and everything that comes to mind. It’s an inherently social activity, and by inviting along those dear to you, it can give you a fantastic chance to spend some real, quality time together. What better way to embrace these social benefits of hiking!

It’s also worth pointing out that, depending on where you live, there might even be a local hiking group you can join. Sites like Meetup provide a platform for like-minded strangers to share experiences, with the intention of making new friends and enjoying something together as a way to bond.

It’s always worth doing a little research to see if there’s anything like this that you could take part in, as it could turn hiking from an excuse to drag the kids away from Call of Duty, to an opportunity to widen your network of friends. And even when it is just the kids – after an hour or so on the trail, even the most stoic of grumpy teens tend to soften up a bit. Particularly at the promise of a Kit Kat at the next stop!