Why Hiking Is The Ultimate Form Of Self-Care
By DeAnna Taylor
Hiking is defined as the activity of going for long walks, especially in the country or woods. Becoming one with nature is good for your health.
According to a study listed on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, people who go on a 90-minute walk through a natural environment will experience lower activity in the area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness. Spending time with Mother Nature seems to reduce your mind’s propensity to “ruminate” — a word psychologists use to describe negative, self-focused patterns of thought linked to anxiety and depression.
In addition to the mental health benefits, hiking also is a great form of physical activity/exercise. According to the CDC, physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Getting at least 150 minutes a week (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity can put you at a lower risk for heart disease and stroke.
While hiking hasn’t always been at the top of the list for urban America, that notion is quickly changing through the concept of urban hiking. Urban hiking is an active walk in an urban environment that goes through parks, stairwells, and intersections.
These days, there are more and more hiking trails available to people living in urban areas. Here are some of our favorites:
Hike NYC: Most would never guess that they could find hiking trails within the five boroughs of New York City, but you can find them without ever leaving the city. These urban hiking paths provide a much-needed dose of nature amid the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.
Stone Mountain Georgia: This park features 15 miles of hiking and walking trails, including the one-mile trail to the top of the mountain. There are trails for beginners and seasoned pros alike. And it’s the perfect place to meet fellow hikers and form your own squad.
Runyon Canyon: Runyon Canyon is probably the most Instagrammed trail in America. This L.A. hike is fun but challenging. You may even catch your favorite celeb hiking, too.
Camelback Mountain-Phoenix: A quick hike located in the middle of the Phoenix Valley with great views. Camelback is a cult classic and even sells apparel for its most dedicated hikers.
While hiking paths are great, few hiking movements have successfully targeted black women the way GirlTrek has. “Self-care is a revolutionary act and at GirlTrek, self-care is the foundation of all that we do,” GirlTrek co-founder, Vanessa Garrison, told The Root.
GirlTrek is a health movement for black women and girls. The organization boasts more than 160,000 members across the country. GirlTrek uses walking as a first, practical step toward living a happy healthier life.
GirlTrek’s #StressProtest brings 400 women together for a weekend to participate in activities centered around radical self-care. This year’s meet-up was held in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
You can take the GirlTrek pledge at GirlTrek.org.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.