I was reflecting on this the other day, wondering on why hiking is so popular, or at least it seems to be. It came up as an after hike discussion point at dinner on a hiking weekend I was on.
It has certainly grown in popularity over the last decade I think and it seems to be a much more common activity nowadays that people partake in more than they used to.
Again, that’s at least how it seems to me to be. As I generally spend my free time hiking and therefore, by default, with hikers, I could be a bit off but in general, the popularity of the activity does seem to be larger than at any time I can recall in my life to date.
Why is that?
With that in mind we started to wonder why hiking has got so popular!? Several ideas came up which I thought I would elaborate on a little bit in a post.
First off, it’s just good for you. The benefits of hiking are many. If you want to get into a healthy activity on a regular basis, hiking has to be a very good choice as it’s a not only a good cardio workout but you are using a lot of your muscles as well and so building strength.
Mountain air is, generally speaking, good air to be breathing in too, so pushing your lungs to work a bit harder in it can’t hurt them.
Easily Accessible to Most
Next up, it’s easily accessible (Assuming you have some mountains and trails close by of course). It’s not too hard to organize a safe and enjoyable walk or hike on well marked trails.
You don’t need to pay for anything except your transport to get to where you plan to hike.
You also don’t need too much investment to get started hiking, at least in the early stages anyway. Some basic gear, like a rain jacket, some hiking boots and some hiking pants and you’re pretty much good to go.
Availability of Quality Gear
Keeping in the vein of gear, quality gear has also become very accessible in the last years. The quality, in most cases, just seems to get better and better as more and more technology developments come online.
In fact, for many trail hikes you can probably get away with much less for a short hike in good weather. Many times, most people already have a few basic bits and pieces to be able to take on a simple hike on good trails.
It’s sociable. More and more people are taking to the hills these days and so it is a great way to meet people. It usually also has an underlying social scene if you’re a member of hiking clubs or associations.
I am a member of one hiking club where long term relationships are quite common so I think many people join clubs to try and find a partner.
This was unapparent to me until I ended up dating someone in a group I was in. Only then did I notice that lot's of other folks were taking an interest in each other lol 🙂
In fairness though, it is a good way to meet people who like to stay fit and are into healthy activities. The bar scene can grow tiresome and repetitive so I guess it isn't surprising that people will look for new avenues to meet people and activities like hiking offer a good vehicle for that.
This is an interesting one. I have noticed that in the last decade there seems to have been a big rise in people taking an interest in spiritual matters and aspects of their lives.
Spirituality means lot's of different things to different people. I myself have noticed that as I have gotten older I have got interested in things like meditation and some of the bigger philosophical questions of life.
Perhaps the excesses of the recent decades and the global cyclical boom and busts of our times have led more people to look elsewhere for fulfillment when materialism hasn't filled a whole.
Again though, it could just be me noticing it more as I am interested in it myself, however I do get the distinct impression there has been a growth in interest in the spiritual genre.
Taking it back to hiking, I do very much feel that hiking has a spiritual or mindful element to it in that being out in nature, for most folks, just feels good. It’s like there’s another part of the human organism that just likes to connect with wide open spaces.
For those of us attuned to the silent beauty of the great outdoors, there is a sense of freedom that comes from being out in the wilderness or standing on top of a grand peak looking out at a stunning mountain view on the horizon.
You can’t really put those types of experiences into words, or do them justice anyway, as they’re a very unique and personal experience for every individual.
However, there is no doubt there is an accompanying feeling of peace and serenity that is hard to find anywhere else. I guess I can only really describe that as spiritual.
The World is your Oyster!
With the world becoming an ever smaller place due to technology and easier travel access, the world truly is your oyster.
If you really want to go to that beautiful peak in the Andes you just viewed on your tablet on a travel blog, with some planning and / or saving, it is a genuine possibility for many.
I have a list as long as my arm of places I want to visit to hike in lol 🙂 And why not! There is more than a lifetimes’ list of hiking adventures and possibilities that await you on this beautiful planet should you be so inclined.
The experience of the people and cultures that wait you there too are something to be treasured.
There’s no doubt in my mind that hiking has got more and more popular over the last decade and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
I've listed here what I think are just some of the reasons why that is the case but I am sure there are many, many, more.
What do you think? Why has hiking got so popular? Do you agree that it is getting more and more popular with every year that passes? I’d love to gear what you think in the comments below.