Mental Health Benefits of Hiking

You can’t escape the commercials promoting numerous prescription medicine for depression, anxiety and other forms of mental health illnesses. But did you know that hiking and being in nature can also be a sense of relief for mental health? Plus, you will gain the benefits that exercising has to offer as well. It’s a complete win, win!

Being outdoors brings out less anxiety and more positive emotions. The reason being is that when you begin to focus on nature it allows you to be fully present in the moment. This is similar to mediation, where your brain isn’t thinking about the past or future but instead focusing on the now.

Now, don’t expect to go hiking for the first time and have the entire hike be blissfully mind freeing. Instead you will have little glimpses of this sensation. The more you get outdoors and hike, the longer these glimpses will last. You’ll begin to feel stress levels reduce and moments of pure happiness occur.

Since hiking is a form of exercise you will gain the benefits that exercise has to offer as well. Stronger muscles, lower risk of heart disease, improved blood pressure and sugar levels. These are just a few of the other health benefits that come along with hiking.

So why not get out there and hike?  A good beginner trail in Phoenix is the Kiwanis Trail on South Mountain or the Gateway Loop at McDowell Mountain Range. Give it a try and tell us what you think! If you tag us on IG (@hikephoenix) we will feature you and your story.

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