Hike Me Happy!

Studies have shown that outdoor activities like hiking can benefit our mental health in a variety of ways. In this article I consider some of the ways hiking has been good for me.

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…

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Seeing our partner in a new light

Hiking together with my wife is a pleasure, but there are benefits to us sometimes hiking alone. Musings on relationships originally published on my friend’s blog for adventurous couples.

It’s an early autumn morning in the Australian high country. I’m above the treeline, surrounded by clusters of granite boulders dotted around a grassy plain. I can see the skeletal branches of a few fire damaged snow gums on the edge of the valley below. Australia’s highest ground stretches out to the west, peaking at 2228m above sea level on Mt Kosciuszko’s modestly domed summit. My target for today though is Mt Tate, whose colourful east face rises steeply from Guthega Creek to my left.

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