If you are looking to take up a new hobby in the new year and fancy something that will encourage you to get out and explore more of the great outdoors in the UK, then getting into hiking could be the perfect option for you.
There are so many benefits to going for long walks and hikes, not just for your physical health but your mental health too.
This article will discuss the rising popularity of hiking in recent years, and some of the main things you need to know before throwing on your walking boots and heading out to find exciting new trails to explore.
Why has hiking become so popular?
Hiking has always been a popular activity with those who enjoy spending time outdoors, but it became increasingly popular in the wake of the Covid pandemic. With many of the usual social and recreational activities coming to a standstill, people were more inclined to spend time outdoors and hiking offered the perfect solution.
It’s a fantastic way to spend a weekend away from the distractions of normal life, where you can switch off from your routine and connect with nature. It’s also a great activity to do as part of a group and allows you to spend quality time with friends or like-minded hikers.
Hiking is also a really easy activity to pick up, as it doesn’t require any training if you choose to head out on trails that are easy to navigate and not too strenuous.
What do you need to take with you on a hike?
One of the joys of hiking is that it is completely free and you don’t need to think about purchasing lots of equipment to take part in this activity.
There are a few things that every hiker should take with them however, including:
- A pair of sturdy hiking or walking boots
- A waterproof jacket
- A small backpack
- Sun protection – such as sunglasses, sun cream and a hat
- Bottles water and snacks
- First aid supplies
- A navigation tool such as a map or a device with GPS
- Hiking poles if you are taking on a trail that features difficult terrain
The benefits of going on a hike
There are so many wonderful benefits to taking up hiking as your new favourite pastime this year. Physically, hiking is a fantastic way to exercise and as it can often be done at a leisurely pace, you can enjoy an entire day walking around beautiful trails without actually working up a sweat. But you will walk thousands of steps which is a brilliant way to burn calories.
It can also help to improve your balance, help you lose weight, work your core muscles and build stronger bones. Spending time outside will also mean you are exposed to more Vitamin D, which in turn is also good for your well-being and helps to maintain strong and healthy bones.
Another widely acknowledged benefit of spending more time in the great outdoors is how much it can improve your mental health. Life can be overwhelming at points, so spending time away from your regular routine, your job and your home can massively improve how you feel and allow you some breathing space to be alone with your thoughts.