Hiking and Mental Health
A recent review of numerous scientific studies shows that physical exercise in the natural environment can improve our mental health in a variety of ways. Activities such as hiking, snow sports, surfing and outdoor climbing can reduce negative mood states, increase positive psychological experiences, improve self esteem, and contribute to psychologically healthy ageing.
As a keen hiker myself I can relate to many of the positive experiences people report, such as (quoting from that review): “pleasure and enjoyment, meditation, independence, basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness, experiences of flow, comfort and intense emotions, enhanced feeling of body, discovering the pleasure of achievement, vital strength and a higher will to live…, and… an intense nature experience” (page 7).
Hiking has become a mild obsession for me nowadays, and after reading this study I had a think about why I enjoy it so much. Below are the results of my musings…Continue reading “Hike Me Happy!”