5 Amazing Wellness Benefits of Hiking + Best Hiking Shoe Picks

Updated: Jul 28

There are many health benefits of hiking that can make it the perfect activity for all ages and fitness levels. Here are five benefits of hiking that will make you want to hit a local trail today.

woman in forest experiencing the benefits of hiking

5 Amazing Wellness Benefits of Hiking


When most people think of hiking, they imagine a grueling experience, only for the fittest and most experienced outdoors people. But hiking doesn’t have to be hard. There are many health benefits of hiking that can make it the perfect activity for all ages and fitness levels.


Here are five awesome wellness benefits of hiking that will make you want to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail today.


Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Hiking


1. Hiking can improve your mental health.


Harvard Medical School experts found that hiking offers impressive mental benefits.[*] Hiking can improve mental health and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Researchers found that hiking helps people with mental illness significantly improve symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve self-esteem.[*] If you’re feeling stressed or down, spending time in nature may be just what you need.


2. Hiking can boost your energy levels.


Hiking in a natural outdoor setting increases energy.[*] If you feel tired, a hike can give you the energy boost you need. Fresh air and sunshine are natural energizers, and the moderate physical exercise of hiking increases your overall energy levels. Plus, hiking is the perfect excuse to spend quality time in natural light while burning calories.


X Ultra3 breathable hiking shoes.

*These extra durable, breathable hiking shoes offer maximum traction on all terrain whether you're hitting the trails or looking for a solid work shoe.


3. Hiking can help you sleep better.


One of the physical benefits of hiking includes improved sleep quality.[*] If you have trouble sleeping, hiking may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Physical activity releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting benefits that can help you relax and sleep better. Exposure to natural light during a hike can also help to regulate your body’s sleep cycle.


4. Hiking can improve your cardiovascular health.


One of the best hiking benefits is increased physical health. If you have high blood pressure, hiking outdoors and experiencing nature is a fantastic way to improve your heart health and strengthen your cardiovascular system.


Hiking can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Hiking is a fantastic method to build up your cardiovascular health.[*]


5. Hiking can strengthen your bones and muscles.


Hiking is a weight-bearing exercise, which means it helps to strengthen bone density and muscles. Prioritizing bone health is especially important for women over 50 when bone loss accelerates.[*] Increasing bone density can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak. Regular hiking can also help prevent broken bones and improve balance and coordination. So take a break from our modern world, get outside, and enjoy nature.


Brown Keen waterproof hiking shoes.

*In muddy conditions and on rocky terrain, the KEEN ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole offers great traction grip. While indoors, the non-marking rubber outsoles leave no traces or imprints.


Hiking Tips for Beginners


Is there something I should consider when going hiking? Here are a few basic tips that can help:


Wear the right shoes.

Shoes that are comfortable and provide good support will help you enjoy your hike and prevent injuries.


Bring snacks and extra water.

It is crucial to stay hydrated and fueled when hiking. Bring snacks like nuts or fruit and plenty of water to keep your energy up.


Slowly increase distance and elevation.

Start with shorter hikes and gradually work up to longer, more challenging ones.


Choose a hike that matches your fitness level.

There are a variety of hikes to select from, so pick one that appeals to your current fitness level.


Bring a friend.

Hiking with a friend, family member, or in a hiking group can make the exercise more enjoyable and safer.


Try trekking poles.

If you feel worried about balance or have joint pain, hiking poles can help.


Image of Peregrine hiking shoes in teal.

*The exceptionally light and maneuverable Peregrine 12, which bears the name of the world's fastest bird, more than lives up to its moniker. Nothing stands between you and the trail ahead with superior traction and additional protection.


Best Hiking Shoes for 2022 [*]


BEST OVERALL HIKING SHOE: Salomon X Ultra 3

MOST POPULAR HIKING SHOE ON AMAZON: Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator

BEST MULTI-DAY HIKING SHOE: Keen Targhee II Low

BEST HIKING SHOE FOR STABILITY: Oboz Sawtooth X Low

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT HIKING SHOE: Saucony Peregrine 12

MOST STYLISH HIKING SHOE: Adidas Terrex Free Hiker GTX

BEST WATERPROOF HIKING SHOE: La Sportiva Spire GTX


What to Wear During a Spring Hike


As the weather starts to warm up, you may be itching to get out and hit the trails. But before you head out, it's important to ensure you've dressed appropriately. Here are a few tips for what to wear during a spring hike:


1. Layer, layer, layer. You'll want to dress in layers that you can add or remove as the temperature changes throughout the day.


2. Don't forget about your feet. Make sure you have comfortable shoes or boots that will support your ankles and provide traction on slippery surfaces.


3. Protect your skin. Even though it may not be super sunny out, it's important to apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Vitamin D is important, but you can get it without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays.


4. Be visible. Wear bright colors or reflective gear so that you can be easily seen by other hikers and motorists.


5. Pack a rain jacket. Spring weather can be unpredictable, so it's always a good idea to have a rain jacket on hand in case of showers.


Summer Hiking Attire


When hiking during the summer months, it's important to dress for the heat. Choose light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that will help you stay cool and comfortable. You'll really need to protect your skin from the sun, so don't forget to pack sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. And finally, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. By following these tips, you'll have a great time on your summer hike.


La Sportiva Spire GTX image of women hikers in the woods.

*La Sportiva Spire GTX employs special nanoscale air ventilation channels in the midsole and footbed to drain away extra moisture from the foot and transfer it to the mesh panels.


What to Wear During a Fall Hike


As the weather starts to cool down, it's important to choose the right clothing for your hike. Here are a few tips:


1. Continue to layer your clothing. You'll want to wear items that can be easily removed or added, depending on the temperature.


2. Choose fabrics that wick away sweat. This will help you stay comfortable as you hike.


3. Bring a waterproof jacket. This will protect you from the elements if the weather takes a turn for the worse.


4. Wear hiking boots or shoes with good traction. This will help you keep your footing on slippery surfaces.


5. Don't forget to pack extra socks! Your feet are bound to get wet due to muddy trails or sweat, so it's important to have a clean, dry pair of socks to change into.


Winter Hiking Attire


During the colder months, a three-layer system is ideal. You'll want to start with a base layer that will wick away sweat and help keep you warm. Add a mid-layer of fleece or down for extra warmth, and top it off with a waterproof outer layer that can also protect against the wind. Be sure to wear boots that are insulated and waterproof and socks that will keep your feet warm and dry. It's also a good idea to pack gloves, a hat, and a scarf.


Final Thoughts: Healthy Benefits of Hiking


Hiking is a great way to get regular exercise and enjoy the outdoors. It benefits your overall health by strengthening bones and leg muscles, preventing injuries, and improving your well-being. Hiking helps you stay fit and healthy, and it's a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy. So get out there and hit the trails!

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