“Hiking in undiscovered places is a lot of fun.”
Karolina Kurkova, Model
Advantages & Disadvantages of Hiking
Hiking has become increasingly popular over the past decade. People like to spend their time in nature in order to relax from their stressful daily life.
However, apart from many other advantages related to hiking, it also implies some issues. In this article, the pros and cons of hiking are shown in detail.
Advantages of Hiking
- You can relax from your stressful daily life
- Hiking can be fun
- Better connection to nature
- Fresh air
- Overall fitness level improvements
- Good substitute for the gym
- Good to lose weight
- May improve our health
- Can help you age slower
- Lower risk for mental issues
- Nice family activity
- Educational activity for your kids
- You may be able to watch the local wildlife
- Team spirit can be improved
- Your level of perseverance will grow
- Flexibility regarding the difficulty level of a trail
- Hiking is cheap
You can relax from your stressful daily life
One important advantage of hiking is that it allows you to relax from your stressful daily life. If you work long hours in a demanding job, chances are that you will often feel overwhelmed, which may result in excessive stress levels.
Those high levels of stress are not only unpleasant and lower your overall quality of life, being stressed on a continuous basis can also lead to serious physical and mental health conditions.
It is therefore crucial that you relax from this stress from time to time. One important measure to do so is to go hiking. Since you can enjoy the quiet atmosphere in the middle of nature, your stress level will drop significantly.
Moreover, you could even turn off your smartphone to further improve your natural experience and to unplug from your surroundings for a while so that your mind can regenerate and is ready for the next important tasks that will come sooner or later.
Hiking can be fun
Many people enjoy hiking since it is so different from other leisure activities. Although it has nothing to do with action or thrill, it can still be quite much fun and many people really enjoy the feeling of being in a natural environment.
Moreover, depending on which hike you go, the landscape will change significantly when you ascend a mountain and the chances that you will feel bored will be quite low since you will see a huge variety of different plants or even animals if you are lucky.
Better connection to nature
Hiking is a pretty basic sport that connects us with our natural environment. It seems in our nowadays society that many people forgot where we as humanity actually came from and where we lived for many thousands of years.
We haven’t lived in cities at the beginning of human history, we lived in line with nature in forests and mountains. Therefore, everyone of us is likely to carry some portion of DNA in themselves that tells them subconsciously to experience nature since it is an integral part of human history.
Thus, it just seems natural that we at least go back to nature through hiking from time to time since it has been our natural living environment from the beginning of human history.
If you live in a big city, chances are that you suffer from quite bad air quality. Especially at rush hour, many people commute to work or back with their cars and large amounts of harmful gases are emitted into our atmosphere.
In some big cities, even clouds of smog form on a regular basis. Hence, in order to escape this bad air quality for a while, you might want to go hiking since the air quality is usually much better in forests or mountains.
By doing so, you will not only do your health a favor, but your overall mood may improve significantly since fresh air is a key driver to ensure a high quality of life.
Overall fitness level improvements
Hiking not only is fun, but it can also vastly improve your fitness level. Depending on the difficulty of the trail and how long you want to walk, you will soon experience a boost in your fitness.
In turn, this will also benefit you in all parts of your daily life, since higher fitness levels also imply more power to accomplish things in life. If you have more power, you can work harder. If you work harder, your chances of getting promoted increase.
If you get promoted, you will earn more money. You see, a high fitness level is crucial for success in life and hiking is a good way to improve your overall fitness level and to have fun at the same time.
Good substitute for the gym
Since you can significantly improve your fitness level through hiking, there might also be no need to go to the gym anymore. Let’s be honest. Even though many people go to the gym on a regular basis, most of us hate to go there and we just do it to maintain a high level of fitness.
However, if you go hiking on a regular basis, your fitness level will likely be high enough and you do not have to worry about attending the gym anymore. Thus, if you are one of those people who hates the gym, hiking may take away this unpleasant duty.
Good to lose weight
Overweight and obesity are a really big problem in our current society. Millions of people die each year from the consequences of obesity. Hence, it is crucial that we tackle this problem somehow.
If you also suffer from overweight and you want to lose weight but don’t know how, hiking might be a good first step. All sorts of physical activities can burn calories, which is crucial to losing weight.
Therefore, if you go hiking on a regular basis and eat healthy at the same time, chances are that you will lose weight rather quickly, which in turn will improve your overall health level as well as your quality of life.
May improve our health
In general, our body and our brain only stay healthy if we do at least a minimum level of workout. However, this doesn’t mean that you are restricted to a certain activity like going to the gym.
It just means that you should exercise on a regular basis. One way to do so is to go hiking on the weekends since you will strengthen a large number of muscles and hiking is also quite beneficial for your bones as well as your cardiovascular system.
Therefore, if you go hiking on a regular basis, you can reduce the risk for many serious health issues and have plenty of fun at the same time.
Can help you age slower
Physical activity is not only good for our overall health, it also can help us to age slower. Many studies have shown that physical activity in conjuncture with a healthy diet is one of the main factors to stay young.
Therefore, instead of living in an unhealthy manner and attending the plastic surgeon in a few years, you might rather go hiking on a regular basis. Not only can you save plenty of money, you will also look younger in a more natural way.
Lower risk for mental issues
Due to the information overload that everyone of us suffers from in our current society, many people feel stressed and those high stress levels often also translate into serious mental problems like depression.
Many people will no longer be able to work due to their mental issues and their overall quality of life will decrease significantly. Consequently, it is crucial to reduce the risk to develop mental illness as best as possible.
One way to do so is to engage in physical activities like hiking since it can lower our stress level and the connection to nature can also calm us down.
Nice family activity
If you have kids, hiking might also be a quite nice family activity for you. Many kids in our nowadays society are not too interested in nature anymore. However, once they went for a hike, they are often quite excited and want to do this on a regular basis.
Therefore, you should give it a try and go for a hike with your family. Who knows, maybe it will become one of your favorite weekend activities in the future 😉.
Educational activity for your kids
Hiking can also be a great tool to educate your kids about the importance of keeping our environment intact. Learning from textbooks is quite different compared to really experience what it feels like to be in the middle of a forest.
Thus, only if your kids will experience the beauty of our nature, they will fully understand why it is worth protecting it in all areas of our daily life.
You may be able to watch the local wildlife
Depending on where you live and which trails you choose, you might even be able to watch some animals while hiking. For instance, you might see many marmots or chamois.
Apart from the interesting animals, you will also stumble across many different plants you will probably have never seen in your life before.
Hence, you can also significantly improve your knowledge and experience regarding our local flora and fauna through hiking.
Team spirit can be improved
Hiking can be fun with your family or also alone, but it can also be a senseful activity to improve the team spirit of a group. For example, you could go hiking with your colleagues from work in order to get a better connection with them. By doing so, working results tend to improve as well since team spirit is quite important in business.
Your level of perseverance will grow
Since hiking can be exhausting and challenging from time to time, your overall level of perseverance might also significantly increase.
This will be quite beneficial for many different parts of your life, especially in difficult times when a stable personality is needed to stay on our path and purpose.
Thus, by developing this high level of perseverance through hiking, your chances to be successful in many other parts of your life tend to increase as well.
Flexibility regarding the difficulty level of a trail
Depending on your fitness level and your personal preferences, you can choose from a large variety of different hiking trails. This means that you do not have to go for an exhausting one if you do not want to. This high level of flexibility gives you the opportunity to switch gears according to your personal preferences.
Hiking is cheap
Another benefit of hiking is that it is often quite cheap to use the hiking trails. In many cases, those trails are even free and you do not have to pay any money to be able to use those trails. Thus, hiking can be a rather cheap hobby and will therefore be suitable for the majority of our population.
Disadvantages of Hiking Trips
- Hiking might be dangerous
- You might get stuck in the mountains
- It can be quite exhausting
- May not be suitable for small kids
- You might get lost
- Proper equipment is needed
- Fear of heights may be a problem
- People often overestimate their abilities
- You may get stuck in traffic jams
- Hiking trails may be quite crowded
- Wild animals
- Snakes & Spiders
- Geographic dependence
Hiking might be dangerous
Our previous discussion has shown that there are many upsides related to hiking. However, hiking also implies some problems. One disadvantage of hiking is that it might be dangerous.
Depending on the hike you choose, you may have to walk on narrow paths and sometimes, there will be no safety measures that prevent you from falling down many hundred feet.
Thus, before you go for a hike, make sure that it is not dangerous in order to minimize the risks related to hiking.
You might get stuck in the mountains
Another problem with hiking is that you might get stuck in the mountains. For instance, if you experience a torn alignment while you are hiking, you may no longer be able to walk anymore.
Especially if you are alone, this might lead to serious issues since you might not be able to get back to your car anymore. Instead, you might have to call for help and in case you need rescue from the mountain rescue service, this can lead to pretty high costs for you.
Therefore, if you go hiking, make sure that you hike in groups in order to minimize the risk of getting stuck in the mountains.
It can be quite exhausting
Although hiking is a good workout and will likely improve your overall health as well as your fitness level, it can also be quite exhausting and many people may lack the motivation to go hiking on a regular basis since they are simply too lazy to do so. Hence, if you do not have a high level of motivation, you might lose interest in hiking sooner or later.
May not be suitable for small kids
Even though hiking can be a nice family activity, it might not be suitable for quite young children since it may simply be too exhausting. Going for a short walk may be the better alternative if you have small kids instead of going for an intensive hike.
You might get lost
Another downside of hiking is that you might get lost. Especially on tracks that are not properly marked, it is quite easy to lose track and to stand in the middle of the forest after a while without a clue how to get back on track.
Thus, before you decide to go hiking, make sure that you bring a map or other helpful devices with you that can help you get out of your misery once you get lost.
This is especially true for hikes in remote areas where you will not meet too many other hikers since you will have no one who could help you in those situations.
Proper equipment is needed
Depending on the hike, you might also need plenty of proper hiking equipment. For instance, hiking poles are a quite convenient way to improve your hiking experience since they offer you additional grip.
This will be especially important if you go for challenging hiking routes. Thus, even though you do not need much equipment for easier routes, you may still need to buy some stuff if you decide to bring your hiking experience to the next level.
Fear of heights may be a problem
Some people may also suffer from a fear of heights. This may be a serious problem if you go hiking since quite often, you will have to walk on rather narrow paths and if you slip, you might even fall and get seriously injured. Therefore, if you suffer from a fear of heights, you either want to choose an easy route or refrain from hiking.
Headaches are rather common among hikers, especially if you are not used to it and your fitness level is rather low.
Moreover, if you hike in alpine regions where the air is quite thin and oxygen levels are low, your body may not be able to deal with this physical stress in a healthy manner and you might suffer from serious headaches.
Sometimes, people even have to throw up since they are simply not used to these extreme conditions.
Hence, if your fitness level is not high enough yet, don’t go for difficult routes and choose a moderate one instead so that you can avoid those unpleasant consequences.
People often overestimate their abilities
Especially inexperienced hikers often overestimate their abilities and their fitness level and put themselves in tricky spots. Sometimes, this overestimation of abilities also leads to serious dangers for them.
For instance, if you run out of power in the middle of the mountains, you might be stuck there without anyone who can help you. Thus, make sure that you properly evaluate your physical fitness level before choosing a track that might lead to serious issues for you.
You may get stuck in traffic jams
Some hiking paths are also quite popular and many people will go there for the weekend, especially if they are near big cities. Therefore, you might get stuck in traffic and may have to waste precious weekend time. In turn, this may rather increase than decrease your stress level and the initial benefits from hiking may turn into the opposite.
Hiking trails may be quite crowded
Not only the streets may be quite crowded, also the hiking path itself may be populated by a high number of people. This may lead to a state where you might no longer be able to enjoy the real beauty of nature.
Thus, instead of going for one of those main routes, you may want to choose another more remote and unpopular path which is less crowded in order to get a more pleasant hiking experience.
Littering is another issue that comes along with hiking. Many people seem not to care about our environment at all and just dispose of all sorts of trash into the nearby forests. Some forests on hiking trails actually even look like garbage dumps.
Hence, if you go hiking, make sure to refrain from littering in order to preserve the natural habitats of the local flora and fauna.
Depending on the area you live in, you might also have to watch out for wild animals. For instance, in some regions in America, mountain lions are present and if you go for a hike, make sure that you are able to defend yourself in case you stumble upon one of those potentially dangerous animals.
Snakes & Spiders
In some regions of our planet, there are also many deadly snakes and spiders around. Thus, if you go for hiking in those spots, make sure that you take great care not step on those animals. You may also want to bring antidotes just in case you get bitten by one of those animals.
If hiking is suitable for you also depends on the region you live in. For instance, if you live close to the mountains, hiking will be a nice weekend activity.
However, if you live far away from the mountains, you might not have the opportunity to go for a hike since it would take you too long to get to the hiking location.
Top 10 Hiking Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Hiking Pros||Hiking Cons|
|Connection to nature||Hiking may imply some dangers|
|Hiking to reduce stress levels||Can be exhausting|
|Can be fun||Not everyone loves hiking|
|Good to educate your kids||Spiders & snakes|
|Hiking is cheap||Ability to hike depends on your location|
|Improvements in fitness||Trails may be quite crowded|
|Overall health level may improve||You may get stuck in the mountains|
|Family activity||Littering is a problem|
|Building team spirit||People might overestimate themselves|
|Good to lose weight||You might get lost|
Should You Go Hiking?
From the previous analysis, we can conclude that there are many advantages related to hiking and that we can profit from this activity in several different ways.
However, hiking also implies some issues. Thus, before you go hiking, you should inform yourself about the trails in order to avoid any unpleasant outcomes.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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