Have you ever noticed how people seem to fall in love with hiking and wonder what makes the hobby so addictive?
Hiking can satisfy not only the need for exercise but also the need for adventure and excitement. These events can lead to the release of neurochemicals that trigger the pleasure center in our brain making us want to seek out that feeling again.
Brain science aside, let’s dig in further to explore more about why many people find hiking to be so addicting.
What is Hiking?
Before fully jumping in let’s quickly set the stage on what exactly hiking is. According to our friends over at Wikipedia, hiking is defined simply as:
Hiking is a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails or footpaths in the countryside.Wikipedia.org
While hiking is the term commonly used in North America, other parts of the world refer to it by other names such as rambling, bushwacking, and tramping just to name a few.
To some people, hiking is merely taking a walk in their eyes. To other people, hiking is always an adventure – something that offers thrills and gives you the ability to set and reach new goals for yourself as far as distance traveled or peaks summited!
It is a great way to get into activity for the day without feeling like you are doing a boring task. It is unlike any session on a treadmill for sure. For that reason alone, hiking can be an addictive and very fulfilling hobby to have.
Let’s jump into the meat of things now!
What Makes Hiking So Addicting?
There are many hobbies or tasks that we do daily that have the ability to become addicting to us. What causes something to become addictive is not always known.
But generally speaking, those things that make us feel good are ones that we’re far more likely to repeat!
Now, hiking is special because in this regards because it can become make you feel great in several ways.
There is a physical aspect that makes our bodies want more. There is the thrill of the adventure!
Many people push themselves to overcome fears and obstacles by setting new goals and reaching new heights. Crushing goals can be highly addictive.
Many people find that simply being in nature itself is addictive. They may find that they feel more at ease and grounded when they are outside and therefore jump at every opportunity to do so.
The fact that you never know exactly what you will experience on each hike is also a reason why it can become addicting. The thrill of the unknown and the thrill of surprise is always right at the surface of every hike.
Why Hiking is Good for You
Movement is generally recommended for people every day. Being active is something that our bodies need to stay in the best condition that we can.
Our muscles need to be worked to support our bone and we need to be able to carry the load that we pack.
Along with muscular and skeletal benefits, the more we move – the longer and farther we can go. We strengthen our lungs with deep breaths and keep our heart healthy by making it pump harder.
The benefits of walking and hiking do not stop with just benefiting our physical body. The effects of a good long hike can be seen in our minds as well. When you are out in nature, you generally become a little bit calmer than you were before.
Many people use their hiking time to think about any issues they have going on in their lives or to sort out what actions they want to take next. Others simply let all the noise fade away and use the time to become one with nature and they quiet their minds.
With both the physical and mental benefits of hiking being on the positive side, you may notice that upon returning from a hike you are more pleasant to be around.
Hiking can have a mood-boosting effect on people. Some people use hiking as their way to push a reset button to their entire body!
Should You Hike Every day?
There is always a question that can be asked about any activity: how much is too much? The answer depends on the person. For example, is your body able to keep up with the demand of each hike every day?
Do you have any injuries that you are setting back in terms of recovery if you push excessive activity? The best word of advice for if you should hike every day is to listen to your body.
Hiking every day can be a way for you to build confidence in yourself. You will be able to set goals as far as how far to go, how fast to go, and how often you want to go.
Every time that you set a new goal for yourself and you meet or exceed your goal – you are building a stronger confidence level within yourself. You will be able to see your accomplishments build higher and higher.
Your body is not the only concern when wondering if you should hike every day. Do you have the room in your schedule?
By most definitions, a hobby is something that people do in their spare time.
- Are the places that you want to hike open and accessible during the days and times that you want to attend?
- Will it take too long to assemble the gear or supplies that you need to bring with you for each hike?
- Are you able to complete a hike as well as get all your mandatory daily tasks done?
If you can fit hiking into your schedule without disrupting work or family obligations, then you should be able to successfully hike everyday guilt-free!
You may even be able to manage your time to have a shorter, closer hike during the times in which you are busier, and longer hikes during days and times that have more flexibility.
Is Hiking a Good Hobby?
There is no question that hiking can be a great hobby! If hiking is something that brings you joy and lets you feel good while doing it, then yes, it is a good hobby.
Hiking is not a hobby for everyone though. Most times, hiking is a physical activity that demands strength and endurance from your body. If you have a hard time walking for a duration or have trouble breathing, hiking may not be the hobby for you.
For hiking to be a good hobby for you, you must also be okay with all that nature has to offer. You could be exposed to many elements such as the sun, wind, rain, or snow.
All of those conditions may arise suddenly without warning. Along with the elements, there are other natural surroundings and creatures that you may be greeted with at any time such as rough terrain and wild animals.
Hiking is a great hobby to have if you are comfortable with all of the conditions involved. There are precautions you can take to eliminate some of the uncertainties such as tracking the weather down to the hour and making sound decisions based on what could happen.
You can also bring a friend and make noise while you hike to let all of the unsuspecting animals in the area know you are coming. Most times they will leave the area without you knowing they were even there.
If you ask any hiker why hiking is addictive, you will probably get a different response from each person. Some might say that it is the planning aspect. You might be a person who likes to make a list from top to bottom.
People that are organized might be at their happiest when they are researching parks, terrain, weather, supplies and coordinating dates, and making phone calls.
Other people may have an addiction to seeing all that the world has to offer. It is not only the thrill of the hike, or the risks involved, but moreover the sights that they see when they reach their summit or destination.
You might be an avid photographer and perhaps are addicted to the possibility of getting an amazing image to submit to a contest.
Whatever the reason may be, if hiking is something that gives you a reason to exercise, and provides you with a sense of purpose, then feel free to engage in this addictive activity.
Hiking may be the very thing that pushes you to set goals, reach new limits, crush barriers, and become more confident in your abilities. If your body is up for the physical demands that hiking often has, then it may be the best activity for you.
Make sure to take a look at these other related resources before you go!