Hiking is the ultimate in flexible exercise. It’s an activity that can be carried out any time, any place. Almost anywhere in the world can be explored on foot if you’re properly prepared – depending on your level of fitness and the time you have available, you can go for a short stroll or plan an arduous multi-day hike across difficult terrains in challenging conditions. You’ll see from our Explore page that practically all attractions in our database are hiker-friendly. And the beauty of hiking is that you can set your own pace and map your own route, giving you time to slow down and explore the beauty of the natural world we live in. What’s more, it’s good for you too.
Health studies over the years all confirm the benefits of hiking. For example, there’s plenty of research to indicate that regular, brisk hikes can reduce your blood sugar levels and blood pressure, significantly decreasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes or suffering from a stroke. Hiking can also increase bone density and help guard against osteoporosis, because it’s a weight-bearing activity. And the more you push yourself, the better it is for improving your muscle strength and tone.
But it’s not just your physical health that will benefit. Hiking helps improve your mood, relieving some of the symptoms of stress, anxiety and even more serious conditions such as depression. It can help you sleep better. It can even reduce the risk of dementia.
And because hiking is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, you can share it with friends and family. With the pace of modern life, we often don’t spend enough quality time with the people who matter to us. Hiking is a relatively cheap activity, so why not gather together a group of friends and family and enjoy the great outdoors together? We’re fortunate to have a huge variety of hiking trails in the United Kingdom, many on your own front doorstep. You could go further afield and include an overnight camping trip. It will feel more like a mini-break than exercise, and there should be plenty of laughter on the way.
Of course, with any physical activity, it’s essential to make sure you are properly prepared before you set out. Check out where you’re planning on walking and take a map if necessary. Always ensure you are equipped with the right kind of shoes for the terrain, along with any equipment you’ll need to stay safe such as a mobile phone for emergencies. Take water and food supplies if you plan to be out for any length of time. And check the weather before you go. In hilly areas, for example, conditions can change quickly and you don’t want to be caught unawares.
Nature Flip is all about helping you find the best of the world we live in. So next time you feel in need of a physical or mental boost, why not gain inspiration from the range of hikes available to you? Or even share your experience with others by telling us about some of your own favourite trails?