The Power of Hiking

This morning felt great. Savannah and I went on a 5.5-mile hike. It was nothing too crazy, but we LOVED IT! We’ve been going on more hikes this year, but inclement weather over the past few weeks made hiking pretty unfeasible, given we don’t have top of the line rain gear. We went out last weekend and couldn’t make it up the first hill we encountered due to the mud and slosh, but today was near perfect.

Today probably felt better than usual given the recent events in America. Here in California, as in many other places, most fun outings are closed. No bars, tasting rooms, restaurants, museums, concerts, theaters, the list goes on. Even campgrounds are closed! We had to cancel a camping excursion scheduled for the first weekend of April, which was a big bummer. Thankfully, trails and beaches are still open, but I’ve heard beaches in some places are starting to close. As long as the trails stay open, I’ll be fine.

The reason for this post is to share why I love hiking and why you should too. While this site is centered around personal finance, I’d like to share and discuss some of my other interests. The fact of the matter is, I believe hiking and related physical activates are essential to living a happy life and achieving financial independence. Think about it, are you going to be happy and well off financially if you have high medical bills due to poor health? Probably not. The mental and physical benefits of hiking, riding, climbing, running, etc. are difficult to replicate outside of these activities, and academic research supports this.

Aside from the health benefits, see some other reasons why going on a hike is a great way to spend any day!

  • Gets you outside and exposed to nature. This was especially apparent today after working from home and hardly leaving the past week.  
  • Clears the mind and helps one refocus. After about 20 minutes on the trail, my thoughts feel clearer and I generally have a more positive outlook the longer I’m on the trail due to endorphins being released.
  • Uplifting, invigorating, and energizing. Sure, you’ll be a little worn down after hitting the trail, but the long term impact on personal stamina is invaluable.
  • Cheap. Practically free depending on how you do it. Some parks have usage and admittance fees, and almost all parking areas cost money. If you choose the right trail, and park outside of the fee area (but still in a legal spot), you can hike for free.  

So next time you find yourself wondering what to do with a day, find a trail! Put on some comfortable shoes and clothes, and get going!

Savannah in her natural habitat.
Myself in the Santa Monica Mountains.

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