WHY HIKING SHOULD BE YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTION

WHY HIKING SHOULD BE YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTION

The end of the year is looming. And not just the end of any year; the end of a DECADE. It seems a bit momentous, and with that feeling comes a vague sensation that perhaps WE should be doing something momentous. The start of a new year can be the perfect time to start creating new habits, building positive changes into our lives, optimizing what we choose to fill our time with to feel more fulfilled, more at peace. But with that positive incentive to change comes a whole heap of pressure. Let’s be honest, no one needs any more pressure, especially not at this time of year, when the pressure to be positive can sometimes be overwhelming. There can often be an element of desperation in the New Year’s resolutions we make to ourselves, and if we start slipping out of them by February, it’s all too easy to start thinking that horrible word about ourselves: failure.

Before we go any further, let’s just make a promise right now. Let’s promise to be kind to ourselves.

Great! So, we’re being kind to ourselves, and yet that urge to make a positive change and embrace a new decade is still there, a hopeful little stirring that maybe things could get better, that maybe WE could get better. So what are we going to do about it?

We’re going to go hiking!

That’s right: hiking. Could there be a better New Year’s resolution? It’s hard to imagine so! There are so many benefits we can get from hiking, it’s literally impossible to list them all, but here’s a select few to get you inspired.

BENEFITS OF HIKING

1. Hiking is accessible. There are few activities that can rival hiking for accessibility. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or live with a disability, there are hikes to suit your needs and leave you feeling challenged and satisfied. Fifteen minutes or fifteen days, there are hikes that take you through forests or city spaces, mountains or along beaches. If you are just starting out, there are a plethora of short, easy hikes to suit everyone, and as you grow in confidence and ability, your options continue to expand. If you have the good fortune to live in or come to visit Tasmania you are in for a treat because we have some of the best hiking in the world.
2. Hiking is the best way to explore an area. Traveling slowly through the landscape you are in, even if it is only for an hour, is the best way to get to know fresh scenery, experience new culture, and discover things you simply wouldn’t notice if you were traveling in a car.
3. Hiking is simple. All you need are some shoes (optional on beaches!), a sunhat and a sense of adventure. And here’s a secret: that sense of adventure? It grows on every hike.
4. Hiking slows you down. Moving at walking pace is such a natural thing for humans to do, but our lives today run at the speed of internal combustion engines. There is no better way to reassure your reptilian brain that everything is okay than to go for a walk. The longer the better.

We all know that our lifestyles in the West are far from natural, and we are not doing what we have evolved to do. The closest we can come, today, to experience the life our ancestors lived, is to go hiking. With the constant motion of walking, the easy camaraderie of the people we choose to go hiking with, enjoying simple food outdoors, tilting our faces up to the beauty of the weather, sleeping outdoors without the bright lights of technology and the sounds of the city, the slight discomfort of physical challenge and then the feeling of achievement after pushing through it…. If you let it, all these things combine to create a sense of quietness in the mind. It’s these psychological benefits of hiking, that come from being physically active and mentally engaged in the landscape around us, that has more and more people lacing up their boots and heading out on the trail.

 

GETTING STARTED

Starting anything can be daunting. Making changes can be difficult. But the great thing about hiking is that anyone can take it up, and it won’t be long before you start to see differences in yourself, in how you move and how you think. As your confidence in day hikes increases, you may find yourself drawn to the idea of a multi-day hike. Heading out into wild, remote and beautiful landscapes for days on end is a beautiful idea, but it can be intimidating if you have never ventured out before.

This is where a guided multi-day walk such as the Maria Island Walk comes into its own. With catering, planning, safety and accommodation taken care of, you can head out into the wilderness knowing that you will be safe and comfortable, thereby removing so many anxieties and letting you simply experience. It can be a great way to see if multi-day hiking is for you, or if you already know that it is, guided hikes are a great way of connecting more deeply with a place through the knowledge of your guides and the provision of enough creature comforts so that your focus is not on how cold or hungry you are, but rather on the place you are walking through.

 

We all know we’re stressed. We all know we’re doing something not quite right: working too much, worrying too much, living in the future instead of in the present. Our day to day lives can make it impossible to escape these feelings. Sometimes, we have to make the effort to set aside some time to simply be, and setting out on a hike can be just that: a little piece of motion and quietness in our busy lives. It’s hard to imagine a better gift to give yourself this decade.