You’re probably aware that there are many health benefits of hiking for women, including stamina, strength, and overall cardiovascular health.
But what about the benefits that nobody tells you about?
There are benefits of hiking that go well beyond the physical and enable you to connect to your life—and the people in your life—in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Keep reading for 7 hidden benefits of hiking for women.
Benefit #1: You gain confidence
This is one of the benefits of hiking I try to express most often: When you spend time outdoors, leaning into the support of Mother Nature, you quickly discover your inner strength and confidence.
Because challenges inevitably come up while you’re on the trail. Maybe the weather changes suddenly, or the trail you want to take is closed, or it takes you longer to set up your campsite than you expected.
All of these challenges force you to develop self-sufficiency and learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
By learning how to take care of yourself in the outdoors, you’ll have a greater sense of who you are and what you’re capable of. You become better equipped to take care of yourself back at home, off the trail.
Benefit #2: You reconnect with your inner voice
According to a recent study, the average American spends 24 hours per week online.
No wonder it’s nearly impossible to tune into your inner wisdom! We are being bombarded by opinions and voices that aren’t our own.
While you’re hiking, I recommend simple practices like journaling, yoga, and mindful walking to stay connected to your body, even when things get challenging.
Finding time to connect to your own voice is priceless, and one you can take with you long after your hike has ended.
Benefit #3: You find a supportive community
It’s so easy to feel alone, especially if you’re a busy woman going through a period of transition. Even your close friends might not understand what you’re experiencing.
So although there are many good reasons to hike alone, I highly recommend hiking with like-minded women. One of the benefits of hiking with a support system is having people to cheer you on when you start to doubt yourself.
To start, you can research local hiking meetups in your area. This allows you to learn more about your local trails, as well as meet people with the same interests as you.
You can also find outdoor retreats that match with your personality or life circumstances.
For example, a Quiet Adventures women’s retreat, is designed for women who want to reconnect with their inner voice.
You can also find hiking groups for women of color, curvy women, women in recovery, women with breast cancer… the list goes on.
Whichever community you choose, hiking with women who understand you is a powerful reminder that you’re not alone.
Benefit #4: You discover what really matters
If you have WiFi, a fridge full of food, a dishwasher, a soft bed, and a warm shower, you might easily take advantage of these luxuries.
One of the benefits of hiking is remembering what really matters in life and to not get caught up making problems where there are none.
When you spend time out in nature without running water or food delivery, your priorities quickly shift to the essentials. You learn to appreciate trees, the sun, your lungs, your muscles… all of the things we easily take for granted.
Benefit #5: You let go of what’s weighing you down
It all starts with your backpack! You must literally remove anything from your pack that won’t be of utmost importance to you. I see this as a symbolic letting go of the things you don’t really need.
Beyond that, you also experience one of my favorite benefits of hiking. Away from your daily responsibilities and roles, you have the space for thoughtful inquiry so that you can get clear on what’s not working in your life and discern what’s ready to change.
You re-enter the “real world” with a clearer understanding of what you’ve been holding onto and what you no longer need.
Benefit #6: You become more comfortable with the unknown
Even with a map, compass, and clearly marked trail, you can’t predict how your hike is going to go. Surprises will come up, and you will have to deal with them.
That’s why one of my favorite benefits of hiking is learning how to adapt to whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
When you learn how to release fear, go with the flow, and not fight reality, it creates massive shifts in your life on and off the trail.
Benefit #7: You connect with your inner child
Swimming in lakes, hiking trails, eating around a campfire—all of these activities inspire a sense of play that many adults lack due to their busy lives.
Playing outdoors gives you a chance to recharge and reconnect with your inner child. That place inside of you that revels in pleasure, fun, and imagination.
If you find yourself feeling lost, uninspired, or stuck in a rut, use hiking as a way to let your inner child come out and play.
Are you convinced?
Hopefully this list inspires you to get outside, even if just for a few minutes.
It doesn’t take long for the beauty of nature and the feel of the earth under your feet to reconnect you to your inner self.
Before you know it, you’ll be discovering even more hidden benefits of hiking!