What are the benefits of hiking and camping?

Home » What are the benefits of hiking and camping?

The warmth of the sun on your face, the sound of the wind blowing through the trees above, and the soft earthy feel of the path under your feet. Not only are these experiences enjoyable to have, but they’re good for you, too.

Hiking has been shown to provide several health advantages, ranging from the physical exercise provided by being out on the path to the emotional and mental relaxation provided by being in nature.

hikers in the distance hiking up red rocks
Hiking in Canyonlands National Park NPS Photo / M. Reed

Physical Exercise

Hiking is one of the best ways to get exercise. Hiking, no matter what kind of terrain you’re on, is a wonderful whole-body workout—from head to toe and everything in between.

Check out these hiking physical benefits:

  • Building stronger muscles and bones
  • Improving your sense of balance
  • Improving your heart health
  • lowering the likelihood of some respiratory issues

Hiking in our national parks is a great way to get a good workout, whether you’re struggling up a steep hill or meandering on a twisting dirt trail.

backpackers on a mountain top
Hiking at Wrangell St. Elias Park & Preserve NPS Photo

Mental Health

Going outside in nature may enhance your happiness and mental health. According to a study conducted by Stanford University researchers, spending time in nature decreases stress, soothes anxiety, and may lead to a decreased incidence of depression. Being outside not only enhances your mental health but also opens up your senses to your environment and increases your sensory awareness. Taking in the sights, smells, and feelings of nature has so many health benefits it can even be prescribed by a doctor.

A man with a child on his shoulders walk down a dirt trail
Hiking in Guadalupe Mountains National Park NPS Photo / Jackson

Relational Health

The next time you lace up your hiking boots, you don’t have to tackle it alone. Join a buddy, neighbor, or family member for additional trail fun. Hiking with a spouse, or even in a group, may strengthen and enhance the health of your relationships. Because hiking ranges in difficulty from an extremely challenging climb to a casual way of spending time outside, it’s a great way to strengthen the friendships or bonds you have with your companions. Whether it’s with a younger sibling, neighborhood friend, or even a grandparent, hiking a trail together can bring you closer and help build a healthy relationship.

A hiker stands with outstretched arms, behind her a blue lake in the distance
Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park Photo courtesy of Hilary Terrell

Take a Hike

National parks and its many health advantages are available to anybody, regardless of who they are or where they come from. There are over 400 national parks to visit around the country, each with its own own set of chances for exploring nature. Don’t be frightened to put on your boots and take out your walking stick. The opportunities and benefits of hiking are waiting for you, all you have to do is go.


Leave a Comment