Crisp autumn leaves and cool breezes are quick to greet us as we step out our front doors these days, bringing with them a reminder that the seasons have changed. It's a lovely time to enjoy the great outdoors, as bright bursts of colour still dot the forest edges and a cosy sweater is enough to keep comfortable.
National Hiking Day, also known as Take a Hike Day, is celebrated this November 17th. The day of awareness serves to remind us that hiking doesn't merely aid our bodies -- it can also offer psychological benefits and inspire socialization. Here are five compelling reasons to get on your walking boots and head outdoors with the family!
Five Great Reasons to Celebrate National Hiking Day
- It provides opportunities to be mindful: Mindfulness refers to being present in the moment and being in touch with how we feel and what motivates us, and it's key to emotional well being and self-development; hiking is associated with a boost in mindful feelings 1
- It can create a more positive outlook: Hiking is correlated with a reduction in tension and negative ruminations, leading to a more positive and invigorated outlook on life 2
- It may help aid focus: Distracting environments, shows, and games designed to divide attention can lead to a long term inability to focus, but activities like hiking which keep focus singular can help increase attentiveness 3
- It can strengthen executive function in children: When children spend time in nature with their peers, their executive function -- the set of skills related to planning, deciding, problem-solving, prioritizing, and negotiations -- is improved through their interactions 4
- It's associated with a reduction in depression-related brain function: Time spent in nature and hiking is linked to diminished neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, which is associated with depression 5