How to relieve stress with hiking

    Enjoying every fulfilling aspect of life is what makes it worth living. Sometimes, dealing with stress can impede what is a wonderful privilege. It is important to identify what causes us to experience stress so we can begin to explore ways to alleviate and reduce its effects. As it can manifest itself in so many ways it can be difficult to know how to combat it. It can impact our lives severely, or it can impact our lives mildly. However, it affects you personally, there are things you can do to combat it.

    Stress can lead to implications on both your physical and mental health. You could experience anxiety, depression, or find it difficult to concentrate. Other side effects could include muscle pain, tension, or fatigue. With such an array of implications that can arise, it is important that we tackle stress when we begin to notice the signs.

    In this article we’re going to look at the positive benefits that hiking can have on you if you utilize it as an approach to managing stress.


    Hiker jumping off rocks

    Exercise has long been considered a major stress-buster, and hiking is an excellent form. It is accessible for people of all fitness levels and easy to get started. The moderate pace of hiking is relaxing and calming, yet it is an effective well to build up fitness and endurance. The time you take out of your day hiking will allow you to clear your mind. As you develop, you’ll be able to push yourself on longer and more adventurous hikes, challenging yourself and giving you focus. Physical activity can benefit you in many ways. It is well known that exercise causes the release of endorphins throughout your body. Endorphins trigger a chemical reaction within you that reduces your perception of pain, but it also stimulates a natural high within you. Feeling good will always counter feelings of stress and anxiety. Getting in shape has so much significance considering your mood. When you look and feel better your self esteem will gradually improve, while exerting yourself regularly will encourage improved, natural sleep. All of these consequences can lead to a reduction in stress.

    Remember that any activity can be dangerous if you’re not properly prepared. Ensure you use the correct equipment to get the most out of the experience. has plenty of useful reviews about some of the best hiking equipment for 2018.

    Fresh air and sunlight

    Fresh air and sunlight on mountain hiking

    Breathing exercises are often recommended as a short-term fix to managing stress. It works because deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and your body, encouraging calmness. When you take up hiking the exercise and access to fresh air will open up your lungs and encourage healthy, natural breathing with all the benefits it brings. Fresh air can make you feel rejuvenated and refreshed, which in turn help you to combat your stress levels.

    Sunlight is our natural source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital to our bodies as it works to regulate certain nutrients we need to keep our bones and muscles in a healthy condition. Spending too much time indoors can lead to a deficiency. The health implications can then contribute to increased levels of stress. Although there are plenty of supplements available to increase your intake of vital vitamins, obtaining them from natural sources are the most effective. Basking in natural sunlight for as little as 15 minutes a day can have benefits. In addition, it can help regulate melatonin within the body, which influences sleep and wakefulness.

    The sights & sounds

    Mountain sight-seeing

    In the same way that admiring art can boost your mood, the sights and sounds you’ll witness during a hike can have a positive influence on your outlook. Witnessing natural beauty on such a scale can help put your problems into perspective, and alter the way in which you interpret stressful situations.

    Experiencing such views gives you the opportunity to appreciate the simple things in life. Carry a camera with you, or take along a sketchpad to allow you to incorporate creativity and expression. Art therapy has become a leading technique for relieving stress, and managing all sorts of mental and physical health issues in recent times. Painting or photography can distract you from your problems, and allow your mind to work through your issues subconsciously.

    It’s fun!

    Camping with friends

    Having fun, taking part in an enjoyable activity, and socializing can all boost your mood. Fun is a great distraction from your problems, and if you can combine that with improving your physical health, then improved mental health will follow. Socializing in an inherently natural part of being human. The feeling of support and connection we achieve from interacting with others is vital to our health. Having somebody to talk to or discuss your problems with can be one of the most effective ways to cope with and alleviate stress.

    Graeme is a freelance writer and editor from Liverpool, England. A University graduate, he has studied English, Film, and Creative Writing, makes a great cup of coffee, and can even change a lightbulb. He is kind to strangers and animals, and sometimes even people he knows.

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