Hikefulness, the combination of hiking and mindfulness. I came across this spot-on word a few days ago and I’m not gonna go all spiritual on you now but I know what effects hiking and nature has on both our mind and body. It’s hard for me not to get overly excited when talking about it. I wish there was a nature prescription that doctors and therapists could use but at least it makes me happy clappy to see that more and more people are starting to enjoy hiking.
The power nature has on our health is not just a feeling I share with a bunch ot other nature loving people. Spending time in nature has scientifically proven effects on our health and wellbeing. It helps alleviate stress, anxiety and depression, recovery from fatigue, restore attention, boost your senses and helps you think clearly. Same goes for mindfulness.
One might think that the only way to practice mindfulness is to sit with your legs twisted in a lotus position. That’s far from the truth. Sitting mindfulness can actually be really challenging and you don’t need to lie down on a yoga mat to be able to wind down.
Glimpse the grey & blue mountains on the periphery, the colors and smells of 1000 different plants on the ground, the patterns of lichens and mosses on the rocks or pick up some cloudberries, blueberries and lingonberries to snack on. Watch the birds, raindeers and lemmings do their thing and remember that you’re part of it. Just thinking about it makes me want to pack my backpack with a tent and camping stove and leave.
– To be in the most mind-blowing nature has an instant effect on our mood. It doesn’t take long for you to feel more grounded as you get aha moment after aha moment of how beautiful things around us can be
– Hiking is as back to basics as it can be, the simplicity of walking, watching, smelling, listening, breathing and feeling reminds you of what it means to be alive
– You slip into a slower gear, no one but you are setting the pace and you have all the time in the world to for once think one thought at a time
– You set a direction rather than a goal, and it’s never about competing, being the fastest or the best
– You get to experience something different from our high-tech day to day lives which makes you forget about time, meetings, work, any kind of pressure or unnecessary pondering
– Moving slowly a whole day, maybe carrying a back pack makes you get pleasantly tired down to the smallest muscle. This pleasant tiredness makes the food taste so much better and it helps you appreciate it more. Never have a simple rye bread sandwich with cream cheese tasted as good
– You only need to focus on one thing, your hiking path that you have in the horisont in front of you. There’s often a spot that you can focus a little extra on, whether it is a cabin, a tree, a river or lake or a hoard of reindeers. That way the hiking path and the mindfulness path becomes the same, if you know what I mean?
– As the ground you walk on is uneven and you are forced to keep track of where you put your feet, it’s impossible to walk and text at the same time and it keeps your thoughts in control
– The vibe of stumbling upon bars and restaurants in the most remote places is is as awesome as it sounds. With warm mushy cheeks you sit down and strangers usually don’t feel like strangers in these places, since you have been walking in each others foot steps you have loads of stuff to talk about
I really want to encourage you to get out and explore this very important body- & mind connection, how your thoughts affect your body and how your body affects your thoughts. This will surely help you in your efforts to live a more healthy life and to succeed in reaching your goals, whether it’s about weight loss or just start eating a little better or move more.
So what do you need to be able to hike? Not much. Hiking shoes or comfortable running or walking shoes, clothes according to weather and since you set your own pace and stop whenever you like you don’t need to be particularly fit or well prepared.
What about you? Do you have any favorite hiking spots?
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