5 Amazing Emotional Benefits Of Hiking Proven By Science

Have you ever wondered what makes you hit the trails over and over again?

When you decide to spend time outdoors, there is probably a combination of a passionate love of nature and a burning desire for the health benefits at play.

Many people know being outdoors can be a truly pleasant experience. No doubt about that. But not everyone realizes how much spending time on a good hike can actually do for you. This is not just a fun activity, but it can also bring a lot of health benefits that aren’t often thought about.

The emotional benefits of hiking are plentiful, so we thought it might be nice to share exactly what a good hike can do for your emotional state.

Life is stressful, and most of us are constantly looking for healthy ways to cope with the chaos in our everyday lives.

While many people know that a healthy diet and regular exercise can work wonders for keeping us in shape, both mentally and physically, hiking itself has some special emotional perks to bring to the table. And while many people ask “is hiking a sport“, even though technically it isn’t, it still brings pretty much the same physical and mental benefits.

This is an activity that lets you have your cake and eat it too. You can enjoy a nice time with friends or by yourself, but you also get to experience an increase in your emotional wellbeing that often comes with it.

Without a further ado, let’s begin.

Hiking Reduces Stress

We all know that hiking is a great dose of effective cardio. Depending on the intensity of your hike, you might find it delivers different health perks.

Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll through the mountains or you want to challenge yourself, hiking is a substantial workout that helps your body produce all the good chemicals in your brain.

woman in front of a computer

We’ve all been in such a situation…

This endorphin creating hobby can do an amazing job of providing you with all the best feelings around. It naturally lowers cortisol levels and consequently lowers your stress levels in a fairly considerable way.

Regularly hiking is an amazing way to reduce stress. That’s why the challenge of an exhausting hike can work wonders if you find yourself stressed out.

Besides the workout aspect that makes hiking so beneficial, it also provides the stress reducing benefits of nature.

In fact, according to “Science Daily” a recent study shows that:

“Only 20 minutes spent in nature have a significant impact on the fearful stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.”

When walking outdoors, thus taking a time away from the busy city lifestyle, you will find your spirits soaring.

Walking through nature is such a delightful exercise that it naturally makes your brain relax and disengage from the problematic aspects of your life.

When you feel you start to burn out, then it’s the perfect time to plan a nature escape. The nearest woods or the majestic mountain is a great place to head out to pause and reflect without the intensity of your daily life bearing down on you. There are few things that a little fresh air can’t help with.

And in case you haven’t heard, Scottish doctors can now prescribe nature to their patients.

Hiking Can Make You Happy

In more scientific words, hiking boosts your endorphin levels. Especially if you hike every day.

And endorphins are natural painkillers that are directly responsible for producing feelings of euphoria.

When you’re looking for a way to elevate your mood naturally, finding a picturesque trail is a great way to go about it.

emotional benefits of hiking

Hiking is good for your smile muscles.

Walking itself is a great way if you’re looking to lift your mood on a specific day or you’re hoping to provide a little more overall happiness to your life. As far as activities go, hiking is amazing at bringing together a more positive spin for your life.

It provides an efficient combination of fun and exercise that can work wonders for improving your overall mood.

Since you're here, you might want to check our crazy popular list of top-notch hiking packs with laptop sleeve.

The biggest selling point for hiking is that it’s just a plain fun thing to do. Venturing out and breathing in that fresh air while you soak up some sunshine is just perfect for making you feel that much more excited about taking on your life back home.

When you combine this with the amazing chemical burst that comes with this style of workout, you’ll find yourself feeling rejuvenated. Check out the video below to learn curious and useful stuff about about endorphins.

Enjoy filling your blood with some quality oxygen while you spend time out watching animals and looking at beautiful scenery.

Hiking is a passion that can do miracles for people who truly want to see a natural elevation in mood without the help of chemical boosters.

If you’re having a bad day, a good hike can give you some distance and let you relax. If you just want to naturally improve your brain state, consider hiking more frequently to get that needed boost.

It Can Help You Bond With Your Loved Ones

One underrated benefit to going on a good hike is the fact that it can bring you and your loved ones closer together. This is a good way to increase the bonds that you share with those around you.

According to cheatsheet.com:

“Spending time outdoors with your loved one is an excellent break from your usual routine.”

When you go hiking, things are simply different. You are taking time away from the daily grind to head out in nature together.

This change of scenery can work wonders for helping you to leave behind the mindsets that normally drive us to act in closed off ways.

We all have a tendency to build those ideas and personality frames within our daily lives, but a change of scenery can work wonders when it comes to getting you out of your head.

The big selling point when it comes to forging bonds on a hiking trail is the fact that you and your company can talk. And as we all know, communication is everything.

group of friends on a hike

Hiking can be a fun and bonding experience.

You’ll enjoy traversing the trails while you fall into a variety of conversation topics while doing something that is making you both feel great. Often, to pass the time on the trail, you’ll find yourself lost in conversation.

Since you’ll be away from daily factors like work or home, you may find that you end up having deeper and more meaningful conversations than usual.

The mountains have a compelling way of leading us all to talk about things that are a little more honest than what you might expect when talking in a more closed in setting. Nature has a genuine way of helping us all open up more effectively.

Hiking Can Boost Your Confidence

Developing a good hiking habit is something that can do a great job in raising our self-esteem. Hitting the trails is an activity that makes us look better and feel better all in one single package.

Hiking is great for sculpting the body and instilling an incredibly unique feeling of strength. As a whole, it can make you feel better about yourself in general. This translates to a unique kind of confidence.

hiker with red jacket

Hiking doesn’t only strengthen your muscles but your confidence too.

Walking outdoors is a wonderful exercise that can help you to create a stronger and more durable body. This is excellent for helping you to get in shape in a comfortable and enjoyable way.

As you tone your body with this exercise, you’ll begin to love the way you look. And the invigorating feeling of being strong and vital naturally boosts one’s confidence. Not to mention that it helps burn fat.

It’s easy to get excited when you realize how much progress you’re making. It is a grounding exercise that will build muscle depending on the kinds of hikes you pursue and their difficulty.

By the way, here are some tips that will help you last longer in the mountains and prepare your body for the physical challenge.

Different hikes can have different impacts on your body, but every single one will leave you feeling stronger.

This feeling of grounded strength is great for making people feel more confident. Furthermore, the accomplishment of each new finished hike can do wonders for giving you sweet victories that will make you swell with pride. The result is higher self-esteem levels.

Hiking Can Help You Feel Better About Your Problems

A strenuous hike is more than just a way to get exercise out in nature. Hiking is a way for you to put some distance between you and your daily life activities in a really productive way.

Venturing out into the wilderness can really help you get some clarity and peace of mind. In many ways, going on a hike can be like a therapy. It’s like you’re visiting an outdoor shrink office that is there for you to make you work through some of the issues that you’re dealing with back home.

a woman jumping

Hiking brightens your soul with sunshine and makes you forget your problems.

Since you will have nothing but the sights and sounds of nature around you, you’ll find that some of your biggest problems are nothing but a product of your tiresome everyday life.

They are not so big and frightening after all. Or if they are, you will be able to look at them from a completely different angle.

The serenity of the outdoors is perfect for helping you to focus on your problems and work them out in a fascinating way. In fact, it’s proven that spending more time in nature fights depression in some truly productive ways.

You have the space, the freedom, and the time to reflect on your problems without them necessarily being in your face. Within that completely unbothered backdrop, you can take some time and confront your biggest issues from a distance.

Nature is a safe and welcoming space for you to ponder some of those tougher questions so you can find effective solutions. You’ll find that with the fresh air and all the trees surrounding you, it is easier to think with an open heart and a clear mind.

It can be a lot easier to solve some of life’s problems when you’re looking out from the summit of a beautiful mountain.


Hiking is such a great hobby (and for some even a profession) that it’s easy to see why so many people embrace it.

How Nature Benefits Mental Health


From Visually.

Whether you’re looking for a quick boost from your hiking experience or you want something with a little more consistency from a true hiking routine, you will find that nature trekking can do some amazing things for your emotional spectrum.

Let the healing hands of nature surround you as you work through anything and everything, leaving your worries behind as you climb that majestic mountain.

Whether you want to stop feeling bad or you want to just start feeling insanely good, hiking is an excellent activity if you’re looking for ways to feel better all around.

It might surprise you to learn just how much a good hike can do for you no matter your skill level. Taking the time to build up a good hiking habit can help you improve the overall quality of your life massively.

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Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

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Lori Marick - November 29, 2019

Great article I use to hike all the time but because of my physical disabilities I can no longer enjoy it. However I do love to still read about it . Thanks

    Asen - November 30, 2019

    Hey Lori,

    Thanks for being here. You can always spend some time outside with the proper help, I’m sure.

Alex - November 29, 2019

Thank you for the lovely article. I recently read how beneficial a walk in the forest can be, and I was doing some research on it when stumbled upon your post.
I realized how long it’s been since I went hiking last time. I now have the motivation to take the kids on a hike, hopefully, this weekend, so thank you!

    Asen - November 30, 2019

    Hi Alex,

    Have fun and thanks for reading!

Strahinja - November 29, 2019

Wow, I never knew that these kind of health benefits are possible only by hiking. And they are even proved by science. I enjoy hiking very much but never went that deep into that. This information makes me even happier.

I am going to share this info with my friends who always find the excuses not to go outside in the nature.

    Asen - November 30, 2019

    Hi Strahinja,

    When you start to hike more often you will inevitably experience the huge mental benefits that it brings.

ROB - November 29, 2019

This is a very well written and extremely informative article..
My better half and i have found that the fresh air gathered whilst walking either in the countryside or by the sea is highly beneficial to our well being.
It’s just a shame that more people don’t realise the positive effects and ditch the car more often!

    Asen - November 30, 2019

    Hi Rob

    Me and my wife also love spending as much time in the wilderness as possible. It’s super good for our health and relationship.

Lyle - November 30, 2019

Great article! I like that you approached the health benefits of hiking as they relate to mental health instead of just physical health. In 2013, I backpacked for 6 months and can relate to the reduced stress and anxiety. It was also easier to meet new people since I generally felt more open and at peace.

The best thing about hiking: getting started is as easy as walking outside.

    Asen - November 30, 2019

    Hello Lyle,

    Absolutely agree with you. You did an extensive backpacking back in 2013. Should have been fun and challenging.

Tyler Johnson - February 24, 2020

That’s good to know that spending time in nature would help you to improve your mood. I have been feeling a bit down lately, so it might be nice to go out in nature and see if it will help me feel a bit better. I should take a look into going on a hiking trip or something to see if it helps.

    Asen - February 24, 2020

    Hi Tyler,

    Hiking will surely give you that mood boost that you need. So definitely try it!

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