4 reasons why hiking is great for your mental health

A little time outdoors will do wonders for your mind. (Rawpixel pic)

Times are pretty tough lately, to say the least. Mental health issues have soared because of the impact of Covid-19, and this comes as no surprise.

Minimal contact with other people, hour after hour of being inside – it’s no wonder that people are feeling the toll on their mental health as they do their best to protect their physical health.

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Time in the outdoors, especially in nature where you’ll be far away from other people, is a surefire way to boost your mood, clear your mind, and dust yourself of any quarantine cobwebs.

Here are some of the many ways that hiking can help you shake the blues.

1. It gives you a breath of fresh air

Believe it or not, the simplest bonus of hiking is getting to breathe a bit of fresh air.

Being indoors too long is bad as interiors and built-up areas have reduced airflow and pockets of pollution.

This is why spending time outside in more rural areas is so beneficial to the body. You see, fresh air actually helps to send more oxygen to the brain.

Likewise, more oxygen in your system keeps you running at full capacity.

2. It strengthens relationships

Experiencing things together will deepen the bond between you and your loved ones. (Rawpixel pic)

Got a partner? Perhaps you live with a couple of members of your family?

Well, hiking is a great way to spend quality time, strengthen your current relationships, and even forge brand new ones.

Hiking can be as easy and as difficult as you like. If you’ve got some older or younger loved ones, you can take a nice, relaxed stroll up a beginner trail.

If you and your partner fancy something a bit more challenging, you can test your skills on something a bit more advanced or even make your own route.

And at the end of the day, experiencing things together is a great way to bond and build future memories.

3. It provides clarity of mind

Sometimes the noise of busy, modern living can be too much and most of us have probably spent an ungodly amount of time in our homes as of late.

By surrounding yourself in nature, you can open up to more peaceful and relaxed feelings.

Hiking is a great way to do this as the increased movement and exercise will leave a positive impact on your mood after a day out. What’s more, hiking is a fantastic way of experiencing progression and reward.

What better treat is there than a beautiful view after a long trail?

4. It gives you the opportunity to explore

Take time to do other things on your hikes such as paint or journal. (Rawpixel pic)

Hiking doesn’t always have to be something brand new. If you already exercise, jog, or even walk regularly, then hiking doesn’t need to be an intimidating experience.

Sometimes, it’s even good to bring other hobbies and passions with you along the hike.

If you’re somewhat of an amateur photographer, then bring a small camera and take some snaps along your journey.

Likewise, if you enjoy journalling, then sitting down during a break can be a great opportunity to log your feelings and even take inspiration from the things around you.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg and host of The DRH Show. You can connect with him on Twitter @drelojo_howell.