1. Health benefits abound. You’ll get your exercise and burn calories when you hike. Before you even start your hike, you’ll have to train for it by doing pretty intense cardio. Hiking also lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease, prevents diabetes, helps strengthen your bones, and keeps your joints flexible.
2. It will elevate your mood. All that exercise will let your body release serotonin, the happy hormones. The view and the fact that you’re away from the city will make you feel calm, energized, and worry-free.
3. You’ll feel close to nature and one with your surroundings. There’s nothing like being in the middle of something beautiful and majestic. It makes you feel like everything is perfect. It’s amazing how every single thing came about to form a whole ecosystem, and how one living thing needs the other to survive.
4. You’ll appreciate your country’s landscape. You won’t really, really know how beautiful your country is until you’ve gone out there and explored the terrain. If you’re hiking a historic mountain like Mount Samat in Bataan, remember the Filipino soldiers who risked their lives exactly where you’re standing to fight the colonizers. Also, the view from the top is nothing short of amazing. All the pain you just went through or are going through in life will vanish at once. That's the power of something truly beautiful.
5. You’ll learn to pack light. You’ll have a hard time climbing a mountain with a heavy load on your back, so you really have to pack light. That said, you come to know what’s really important for your survival and what’s a luxury. It teaches you, in a way, to learn to let go of material things.
6. You can conquer your fear. If you’re afraid of heights, hiking can help you overcome it. Your legs will wobble when you’re scared; you’ll be twisting your ankle this way and that when you’re trying to be careful—which can lead to falling and injuries. Sure steps and a confident or clear mind are the way to go since they ensure proper balance.
7. You’ll learn to push yourself even when you feel like you can’t go on anymore. Hiking isn’t easy. When the slopes are very steep, chances are you’ll be sliding down if you’re not used to inclines. You’ll lose your balance every now and then if you’re worried about falling. This can make you want to give up and turn back, since it seems like you’re failing. But when you keep going and when you strive for the right footing and balance, you’ll have a much easier time. If you’re tired, don’t hesitate to take a short break, hydrate yourself, and eat some trail mix. You’ll be surprised with your physical strength and your willpower when you’ve made it to the peak.
8. You might learn to take care of your environment. There are crappy hikers who leave their trash on the trail or actually throw food wrappers anywhere. But if you’re a real or good hiker or someone who strives to be one, you actually respect nature and won’t pollute it; you respect other people/creatures who live there; you know you’re just passing through.
9. You’ll feel like you’re living, and you really are. There’s the action and thrill, the picturesque sight, the fresh air, your sore muscles, and your will to go on in spite of exhaustion and fear. Isn’t living life about all those things? You’re not just letting things pass you by when you’re hiking; you make yourself go on. And the little things that come your way—the different chirps of birds, the smell of pine or flowers or dung—will take you by surprise in a good way (except in the case of the dung, but that’s part of the fun).
10. You’ll feel humbled. You’ll feel great when you get to the peak and when the entire hike is over. You’ll feel strong since you made it alive and you pushed yourself to go out of your comfort zone—those are things to be really proud of. But hiking is also humbling because you’ll realize you didn’t climb the mountain all on your own. The weather had to be just right; your friends were there to support you; there were previous hikers that made the trail you used; that the amazing view from the peak wasn’t by you and isn’t only for you. Hiking will make you really thankful for your surroundings and for being there to experience it.
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