Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hiking

Hiking has become more and more popular over the past decade with an increase in people booking hiking vacations and weekends away dedicated to getting outdoors.

We spend so much time looking at screens nowadays, that hiking has become a very welcome respite from this for a few hours. 

It is a healthy and cost-effective hobby and one of the best ways to see a new country if you’re traveling.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hiking so that you can decide if hiking is the right option for you.

Advantages Of Hiking

Let’s take a look at the main advantages of hiking.

Cheap Activity

This is a massive pro of hiking. Depending on what equipment you need or already have, hiking can be an extremely cost-effective way to spend a day.

Especially if the weather is good, you can just throw on your shoes, grab some snacks and you’re good to go!

If you’re backpacking or on a tight budget, this is a great way to explore without breaking the bank.

Improve Your Fitness

Hiking is an incredible way to improve your fitness. Especially while traveling, maybe you don’t have a gym membership, or can’t afford one, hiking is an excellent alternative.

You will often be trekking uphill which will have a positive impact on your overall aerobic fitness.

Walking is a great way to raise your fitness level without the same risk of injury that you have with weight lifting or running.

Group hiking in the mountains

Explore A New Country In A Completely Different Way

If you’re traveling, hiking is an incredible way to explore the place you’re in, in a new way.

You will be able to see incredible views of your chosen destination from a completely different perspective than regular sightseeing.

You will also get off the beaten track and hopefully come across some lesser-known places that haven’t been overrun with tourists yet.

Positive Impact On Your Mental Health

Exercising and getting out in nature is the perfect combination to improve your mental health and this is exactly what hiking offers!

Switching off from technology, moving your body, and being in nature are all going to have a positive knock-on effect on how you are feeling. 

Improves Your Overall Health

Hiking is great for your physical and mental health as we mentioned, but it is also something that has an impact on your overall health!

Being outside means you are soaking up much-needed vitamin D, you are improving your bone density by moving your body and you are lowering your blood pressure.

You are also breathing in the fresh air away from the pollution of a city or busy roads and taking a break from screens which is so important.

Great Activity To Do With Kids

Hiking is a free and relatively accessible activity for the whole family to enjoy.

Hiking on beginner trails is an ideal hobby for the whole family to do and a positive alternative to screen time for kids.

The fresh air and physical activity are also guaranteed to give everyone a good night’s sleep after.

Disadvantages Of Hiking

Like all things in life, there are some pros and cons, and hiking is no exception. Here we will take a look at the downsides of hiking.

Woman hiking in Winter

Can Be Dangerous

Some hikes, depending on difficulty levels, can actually be quite dangerous.

There may be points when you are walking across narrow paths hundreds of feet in the air.

Most of the time, there may not be any health and safety measures in place to protect you.

If you are in a tropical country, there might be animals that pose a risk to humans. Be on the lookout for snakes on the trail depending on your destination.

The Weather

The weather can change very quickly, especially if you are hiking in the mountains.

This is really dangerous as low clouds or heavy rain can impede your ability to find your way back down the mountain.

In this case, it is much better to hike in a pair or a group as it can be very dangerous to do alone. 

On the other extreme, hiking can lead to prolonged sun exposure. Make sure you have at least SPF 50 on while outdoors.

You Will Need Hiking Gear

When it comes to hiking, you will sometimes be able to do it in sneakers, but often you will need the full gear.

Hiking gear can be quite expensive because it needs to be of high quality to withstand the elements outdoors.

Depending on the hike, you may need hiking boots and a proper waterproof jacket.

The upside is, when you buy these items once, they should last you a long time.

Crowds

Some popular hiking trails can get really crowded, especially if you visit them at the weekend.

This can lead to traffic jams of people along the trail and difficulty getting a parking spot at the start.

Therefore, if your ability and time allow it, you may want to choose a less popular or more difficult path to avoid some of the crowds.

Final Thoughts On The Pros And Cons Of Hiking

So, what’s the verdict? There are advantages and disadvantages of hiking. It all comes down to what you’re looking for.

I hope this guide helped you understand some of the advantages and disadvantages of hiking.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal preferences and needs.

Consider the hikes available in your local area, the weather, and what type of equipment would make you feel more comfortable.

Depending on the destination, I tend to think the benefits of hiking far outweigh any potential downsides.

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