Do you want to know the spiritual benefits of hiking?
Are you in the middle of the week, drained by endless routine tasks and looking for a way to unwind? Or maybe you’re just looking for a moment of peace, a quiet place where you can reconnect with yourself.
Hiking and spirituality may appear to be unrelated, but they aren’t too far apart. It has been scientifically proven that there are spiritual benefits of hiking, in addition to physical and mental benefits.
Regular hikers may agree with the fact that hiking is beneficial; some may even consider it essential to their well-being.
What is it about the terrains that tempts people from the world over to readily jump into their trail shoes and take on the challenges?
It might be related to the research which suggests that humans have always felt connected with nature.
With technological advancement, there has been an increase in cases of burnout and fatigue, necessitating the need for natural ways to de-stress and refresh.
WWB guestposter Prarthna is here to share all the spiritual benefits of hiking, so that you can rest and recharge enough on your next hiking adventure.
11 Spiritual Benefits Of Hiking:
1. Bonding with mother nature
2. A break from the repetitive routine
3. Mindfulness and introspection
4. Improved focus and concentration
5. Enhanced creativity
6. Quality time with friends and family
7. Improved self-confidence
8. Adaptability and mental awareness
9. Encourage gratitude
10. A burst of optimism, joy, and fulfillment
11. Connection with the universe
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1. Bonding With Mother Nature
The woodlands are an evergreen haven of comfort for the exhausted and lonely, as well as courageous adventurers seeking thrills in hiking.
I never feel alone when I hike in the mountains – these gentle ancient mountains become my friends, calming my worried soul, and making me feel less isolated.
There are significant benefits of hiking in nature; the pleasant setting, accompanied by the chirping of birds and the ripples of a river flowing nearby, creates an everlasting impression that will be remembered for the rest of one’s life.
Hiking allows you to be completely in tune with nature.
Your body coordinates best in a natural environment, such as in the middle of a forest.
Even if you are on a long spiritual hike, your sleep-wake cycle will spontaneously harmonize with nature and be soothing to the soul due to the absence of various technological factors distracting us.
2. A Break From The Repetitive Routines
A hike in the woods can provide you with a much-needed break from your boring schedules and stressful lifestyle. Being away from the usual distractions will help cleanse your mind of negativity and allow you to approach the task at hand with a fresh perspective.
Nature is all about simplicity.
It can be as simple as deciding which route you want to hike on, but it’s different from the routine and gives us something new to think about.
The benefits of hiking trails are that each trail presents you with new opportunities and experiences, allowing you to grow spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
3. Mindfulness And Introspection
Nature stimulates all of your senses and receptors.
Hiking allows you to be fully present in the ‘Now’, fascinated by the wilderness and the scenic views, becoming more aware of everything around you as well as your sensations.
The soothing sounds and cool breeze while hiking will calm your mind, allowing you to observe your breath, emotions, and thoughts.
Nature teaches us patience and acceptance, and you will learn to be more mindful of your behaviors without being judgmental.
It is easier to sense and develop a connection with your subconscious while hiking because you only have yourself to fall back on.
This allows you to gain a deeper understanding of your being, soul, and everything in between, enabling you to reflect on your actions to become a better human.
4. Improved Focus And Concentration
Concentration is the foundation of spirituality; the greater the concentration, the stronger the spiritual connection.
Walking allows you to improve your focus and concentration, which is one of the spiritual benefits of walking.
Hiking trails aren’t always easy to walk through, and many of them are potentially dangerous, requiring your undivided attention to stay on the right path.
Hiking regularly increases your attention span by training your brain to focus on the details.
A minor distraction on a hike can be pretty scary and constant watchfulness is required to move through the difficult terrains.
5. Enhanced Creativity
New ideas and unique concepts emerge from within us and this process speeds up when we are in nature.
Confession– I have suddenly gained inspiration for new workshops or blog posts during a hike, as it helps clear my mind so my creative juices flow.
On a hike, we gain a variety of experiences, the majority of which arouse our interest and allow us to see things in a new light.
When you come across the stunning landscapes while hiking, it generates new positive energy within you, allowing you to think in a different, more creative way.
Imagination cultivates creativity, and your imagination flows freely on a trail.
But how is creativity linked with spirituality?
When you’re in touch with your creative core, it’s easier to connect spiritually.
You’ll be able to connect deeply with the universe and become more spiritually aware as a result of your ability to develop new ideas.
6. Quality Connection With Friends And Family
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond –Rumi
True, humans are a social species, and we crave interactions with other people. Since the dawn of time, humans have had an inbuilt desire to socialize, interact and share their experiences.
According to research, more than 36% of all Americans suffer from loneliness and social isolation. We need meaningful relationships to grow spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When people go through challenging situations together, they build stronger relationships.
When you go hiking, whether with family or friends, you build trust in your relationships; this is one of the social benefits of hiking.
Even if you go hiking with a group of strangers, there is a greater chance that trust, teamwork, and cooperation will form among the participants.
As you spent time together, you collectively reflect on your experiences rather than individually, developing a strong spiritual bond.
7. Improved Self Confidence
It is no secret that most, if not all of us, get bogged down by life’s hardships and begin to doubt ourselves, losing our self-confidence.
Because of our low self-esteem, the stress gets to us and we consider giving up.
What is the connection between hiking and self-assurance?
When you go hiking, you rely on your instincts to guide you. You will gain self-confidence and a greater sense of accomplishment once you reach the end of your trail.
It’s not necessary to start hiking on tricky trails right away.
Beginning with easier climbs and working your way up to more difficult paths provides a feeling of achievement, similar to completing a new level in a video game.
8. Adaptability And Mental Awareness
Our ability to face a situation head-on makes us resilient.
Humans have evolved to adapt to harsh environments, yet it has been noted that our endurance declines with age.
Hiking gives you the best opportunity to adapt.
On a challenging trail, you must act and adapt quickly depending on the situation.
You can’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself if you get stuck.
You may encounter tricky paths, minor detours, and small injuries but by the end of your hike, your courage and willpower will have grown.
Mental agility is another quality that improves during hiking.
Your reflexes increase significantly when you begin to notice even the tiniest details about your surroundings. As you keep track of the trail you’re on, your memory sharpens naturally.
Moreover, as hiking tests your presence of mind, your perception and awareness improve. It becomes easier to recognize and distinguish between different sounds and smells as your senses refine.
These mental benefits of hiking will also contribute to your overall spiritual development. The more mentally aware you are, the easier it is for you to reflect on your thoughts. You will be able to choose which thoughts to allow and which to dismiss completely.
9. Encourage Gratitude
Hiking encourages us to praise and be grateful for the everyday necessities in our lives. These benefits of hiking help our spiritual appreciation for the simple things life has to offer.
It provides you with a new perspective from which to view the world; you will begin to appreciate having the time, equipment, clothing, and other necessities to go on hikes.
When you don’t have access to what you consider essentials, you begin to value the small things more.
Hiking through the wilderness, with insects waiting to bite you, no signals on your devices, limited resources, and fewer comforts, helps you thoroughly enjoy the luxuries you may have taken for granted before.
And the breathtaking views at the end of the hike will undoubtedly make you thankful that you decided to go on a hike.
There’s a reason why gratitude is considered one of the spiritual benefits of hiking. It reminds you to be grateful for your blessings, respect the comforts – material or non-material, and count your blessings.
10. A Burst Of Optimism, Joy, and Fulfillment
In today’s world, happiness appears to be a distant dream. We associate happiness with worldly goods, trying to hoard as much as possible in hopes that it could make us happy.
Studies show that hiking for 15-20 minutes in a forest environment reduces the release of stress hormones.
But what is it about hiking that brings you joy?
Hiking through lush green grasslands, snow-covered mountain trails, or simply a hike through a field of dandelions, experiencing it first hand rather than through a screen, sends positive signals to your brain.
The most important spiritual benefits of hiking is the lesson to live in the present moment, which is exactly what hiking does: it helps you focus on the present moment and enjoy the wonders of nature, calming you down and making you happier.
This is why, after finishing a hike, you are filled with a pleasant feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment.
11. Connection To The Universe
In the silence of the trail, whether walking alone or in a group, you can feel a connection with yourself and the unfamiliar.
Your instincts are heightened in the lingering presence of everything known and unknown.
The benefit is that hiking on a woodland trail helps you connect with yourself and a higher power which could be anything you believe in — the universe, God, the divine, or positive energy.
Taking a break and going for a hike reminds you that everything is ultimately under the control of a force greater than what humans can understand.
Additional Benefits Of Hiking
Aside from the spiritual benefits, there are various health benefits of hiking, which contribute to your overall growth and development.
12. Physical benefits
1. The physical benefits of hiking include the strengthening of your core muscles which improves your stamina and endurance and allows you to go on longer hikes without becoming exhausted. It also lowers your blood pressure allowing for easier blood flow throughout your body.
Hiking is considered a full-body workout, even though it is not strenuous, because it allows for maximum body movement.
What better way to burn calories than to go for a walk in the woods? Who knows, you might come across some migratory birds along the way.
13. More happy hormones
Research suggests that hiking can boost the release of your body’s “happy hormones” and “painkillers” – endorphins and serotonin.
Your overall well-being improves when you get rid of the negative emotions from your body.
The psychological benefits of hiking include the release of serotonin, which reduces stress and anxiety, and the release of dopamine, which provides a sense of accomplishment after a long hike.
Essential Info To Keep In Mind While Hiking
While going on a hike is extremely exciting, there are some things you should always be cautious about.
You can share the coordinates of the trail with your family/friends beforehand for safety purposes so that in the event of an emergency, they know where you are.
2. First-aid kit:
While hiking, a first-aid kit with antiseptic liquid, band-aids, and some medicines is essential for minor cuts and bruises.
If you’re going on a longer hike, keep a pair of flashlights and spare batteries with you.
These water-resistant LED flashlights provide quite a bright light that can be used to focus on objects up to 1000 feet away. They have 5 modes including SOS and come with 6 batteries.
These Hands-free LED headlamps can be adjusted and fit comfortably and are completely weather resistant. It provides a powerful beam and comes with 7 lighting modes.
These rechargeable LED flashlights are durable, provide super bright light, and are long-lasting. Pocket friendly and has 5 adaptable settings.
Keep reserves of food (preferably non-perishable) and water bottles.
A lighter in case you need to start a fire.
This waterproof lighter is a flameless substitute for traditional lighters. It is windproof, durable, and can be easily recharged.
This pocket-friendly, lightweight lighter is weather-resistant and lasts up to 60 times per charge.
This is a two-in-one combo of a lighter with a flashlight. The waterproof lighter can be quickly recharged. The flashlight has 3 modes and is USB rechargeable too.
6. A couple of extra clothes.
Aside from your phone/GPS device, keep a compass and a physical map of the area on hand as a backup in case you get lost.
This portable compass is very easy to carry and can be attached to a belt too. It is waterproof and shake resistant and glows in the dark too.
This compass is manufactured keeping professional hikers in mind and is great for alpine hiking. It can be operated in low light and is designed with durable materials to avoid wear and tear.
This sturdy compass has a luminous magnet arrow and is shock resistant.
8. Hand sanitizer:
9. Pepper spray:
Carry a pepper spray with you in case you come across a wild animal or a suspicious person.
This spray can be easily carried as a keyring and has 25 bursts.
Pocket-friendly, this pepper spray has a range of up to 10-12 ft and can be easily used.
This provides a powerful stream of up to 12 ft range. With a built-in belt clip and keychain, it’s easily portable.
10. Trash bag: Keep a trash bag with you at all times.
11. Sleeping bag: Carry a sleeping bag with you if you’re on a longer hike.
Has a weather-resistant design and is made of breathable fabric. Can be easily cleaned by wiping and is convenient to carry.
This comfortable sleeping bag is compact and can be used as one large bag for 2 people or 2 individual sleeping bags.
Made with waterproof and windproof fabric, this can be comfortably used for temperatures b/w 20-40(℃). You can even use the bag as a blanket.
12. A backpack: A proper backpack to carry all of these essentials.
This is manufactured with high-quality tear and waterproof fabric. Weighs only 0.7 pounds and has a capacity of 40L with multiple compartments
This backpack weighs 1.9 pounds with 40L storage space and has 13” shoulder straps. It is made of thick polyester and is water-resistant.
With a 60L capacity, this backpack has a separate compartment for a sleeping bag. The capacity can be increased by 5L with the extension collar. It also has an attachment for holding hiking poles.
1. Why Is Hiking So Important?
You might wonder why is hiking so important and recommended. Hiking has been known to help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even some cancers. It is great for exercising our joints and bones, helps strengthen our muscles, and isn’t too strenuous.
2. Why Do I Feel So Good After Hiking?
You may wonder why do I feel so good after hiking? It is because humans tend to bond with nature. By instinct, we seek natural places with some quiet to escape from the buzz of city life. Experiencing nature while hiking adds balance to my life, allowing me to live in the present.
3. What Happens When You Go Hiking?
Have you ever wondered what happens when you go hiking? Regular hiking reduces your risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and helps to prevent type II diabetes. Hiking helps strengthen our core muscles and promotes full-body movement.
4. What Is The Disadvantage Of Hiking?
So many benefits, but if you want to know what is the disadvantage of hiking, it is that hiking at a higher elevation may cause nausea, a mild headache, fatigue, and lightheadedness. Another disadvantage is that you may end up spending more money while traveling to new places to hike.
Influenced by the spiritual benefits of hiking?
So, what are you waiting for? The woods are calling you. Apply for leave, (or ahem, call in sick tee hee!) turn off the internet and flee from the frantic pace of city life into the embrace of nature for a new adventure.
The best part is that hiking isn’t even as strenuous as any other adventure activity. Trust me, you’ll return feeling utterly revived and more spiritually aware.
Hiking Newbies – Please remember the dos and don’ts before beginning your hike.
Hope you found the information in this article valuable. Do let us know about the spiritual benefits and experiences you had while hiking, in the comments below.