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Hiking offers many benefits. But I would have to say that there are five that cannot be overlooked. Those top five benefits of hiking are:

1. Outdoors, outdoors, outdoors. The best place to go hiking is outdoors. Hiking in a mall is sufficient when the weather is bad. But hiking outdoors offers so many more benefits. The cool breeze on your face as you go out in the early morning. The soft drizzle bathing you and your gear as you make your way along the path. The birds singing; the butterflies; and the gentle breeze cannot be appreciated in the mall.

2. Exercise. Yes, we all know we should exercise more. But do we do it? I know I don’t. And I know the reason I don’t. It’s boring! I could get on my treadmill and go three miles in almost as many hours. But I would be inside the house, listening to the tv or staring out my window. Boring! Plus it would seem like an eternity. I could go the same distance, three miles, take my time doing it, and enjoy the outdoors. At the same time I could have a pleasant conversation with my family. And depending on where I went hiking, I might see some ruins or historical landmarks, a beautiful waterfall, stop for lunch along the way, all while getting my necessary exercise. And even though it might take a long time, it would go by so fast.

3. Little equipment or gear necessary. When going for a hike, you don’t need a lot of specialized equipment or gear. Good sturdy shoes, appropriate clothes, and plenty of water. If you go hiking in the desert or warm climate, make sure you wear sunscreen. If you plan on being out for awhile, you might want to bring a backpack along with some protein bars. If you do plan on enjoying a meal, just pack some sandwiches, water, and snacks. After being on the trail for a while, stop for a break and enjoy lunch. Once you discover how much you enjoy hiking, then you might want to get some of that special hiking equipment and gear. But in the beginning, just enjoy yourself.

4. Photo opportunites galore. When out in nature, don’t forget to bring a camera. I have found that my little 5.0 digital camera takes amazing pictures during a hike. It is very lightweight. I have memories galore of all the hikes we’ve taken. You will have photo opportunities in nature that just don’t present themselves in town. Stopping to take pictures offers you a chance to get a breather and take home a memory. If using a digital camera, bring along extra cards just in case. And make sure to charge you battery the night before the hike.

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