The benefits of hiking + trails

During the pandemic outside activities were on the rise. People started walking, taking up yoga, cycling and hiking to keep busy during lockdown. But being out in nature isn’t just a great way to improve physical health, but mental health as well!

Walking outside on different surfaces —such as rocky grounds or uphill— uses more energy, which results in burning a lot more calories. And if your goal is to keep in shape, then hiking boots are your go-to gear for the trek! Hiking boots tend to be heavier than trainers, so using them will help (the grip on the soles will also help with the walk). Apart from staying in shape, exercise also reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer by up to 50%. Physical activity also improves your mental health. As famously said by Elle Woods on Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't.”

The same could be said about being outside. According to UK charity, Mind, spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It’s worked so well that it even has a name— ecotherapy. So, clear your head and get in tune with yourself while exploring the great outdoors!

Have we convinced you to take up hiking? We hope we did! Curious as to where you should go? Here’s a list of 5 trails for beginners around the UK to check out:

Virginia Water Circular Walk, England
Length: 6.9km

Virginia Water Circular Walk is located near Virginia Water, Surrey, which features a stunning lake and a waterfall.

Seaford To Eastbourne, England
Length: 22.2km

This scenic trail goes through the famous Seven Sisters cliffs. The walk will take you through Beachy Head, which is the tallest chalk cliff in Britain. This route can even get you to the shoreline in certain places, so you could enjoy a dip in the water if it gets too warm.

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Length: 3.5km

This is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO world heritage site. In this circular path you'll get wonderful views of the Antrim Coast and a look down on the Causeway from above.

Arthur’s Seat, Scotland
Length: 3.9km

Arthur's Seat's, located in Holyrood Park, provides views over all of Edinburgh. The vast parkland surrounding the summit is an escape from the busy city.

Mount Helvellyn, Lake District, England
Length: 6.9km

This trail begins near the Thirlmere Reservoir and climbs to the summit of Helvellyn. This is the highest peak in the Helvellyn Range and the third tallest in The Lake District. You’re not going to want to miss the views from here

For more trails and information visit National trails or Alltrails and plan your next adventure!

Stefano Ferreyros