Having recently completed a long weekend of self-guided walking in the French alps it was clear how much better I felt by the end of the trip both mentally and physically. There was a huge amount of positive benefits gleaned from this short trip, and whilst a hiking holiday might not be everyone’s idea of a ‘relaxing break’ I really can’t recommend it enough. In this digital age where we are often spending our lives living at a hundred miles per hour, a hiking holiday was the perfect antidote to modern metropolitan living. Here are five great benefits to hiking.
Hiking is a brilliant way to get active and keep fit. There are not many holidays where I have come away feeling fitter than I left. In fact, some of the all-inclusive fly and flops have had quite the opposite impact. Walking is a great way to burn the calories and the jaw-dropping scenery can often help to distract you from the physical demands of tougher hikes. Thankfully the harder the hike the more breath-taking the views! On our recent trip, we were hitting well over 25,000 steps a day which, I’m ashamed to admit, is well over ten times the exertion of an average day at the office.
Often goes hand in hand with keeping fit physically. A lot of research has been done into the mental benefits of hiking and the meditative effects long walks can have. The peaceful environment, fresh air, and physical challenge have a calming focus on the mind, and you often find yourself in the ‘zone’. Once you are in the rhythm of a day’s hiking, ticking off kilometre after kilometre, you can let the therapeutic benefits wash over you. After completing a demanding walk on every day of our recent trip, there was definitely a level of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Possibly my favourite benefit of hiking. The opportunity to explore new places is very appealing, and even well-trodden routes can look completely different depending on the weather and time of day, so each hike, and each view is unique to you! The recent hiking in the French Alps really showcased mother nature in all her glory with everything from tranquil lake settings to imposing sheer mountain faces. We were also fortunate enough to see an array of wildlife including the famous Alpine Marmot and Eagles with the iconic clanging of cowbells accompanying our every step. Whilst Alpine views are very special you don’t have to go very far from your own front door, and you will probably be amazed by what sights and wildlife you can discover in your local area.
Hiking is a great activity which can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Self-guided walks offer the perfect opportunity for you to set your own pace and accomplish the route in your own time. If you are really keen there is always more mountain to explore and if you are struggling a bit, then sit down and soak up the scenery for a bit whilst you get your energy back. You can always tailor your itinerary to match your ability so no matter your age or ability there is a walk out there with your name on it.
Value for Money
There really isn’t a lot you need to set out on your hike. As long as you are wearing appropriate gear and pack plenty of water and have some food you will be good to go. Some of the more breath-taking trails might be a little further afield and require transport to and from but in the scheme of things hiking is a fantastically egalitarian activity. From our base in the Samoëns, there was a plethora of flat land to explore just by heading out of the door and a few of the more strenuous summit trails were easily accessible via a short drive.
These are some of the benefits of hiking but by no means all of them. Everybody will have their own favourite reasons for hiking so the only thing we can encourage is that you get out and try it!