There are many obvious reasons why hiking is good for you. It is a heart-healthy workout, it gets you outside and under the sun, it helps you to unwind in a lovely natural setting, and to feel more connected to the Earth and your local hiking community. There are more benefits to hiking than many people realize, however. One of these benefits is that hiking can increase creativity and problem-solving abilities!
Can Hiking Improve Creativity & Problem-Solving?
Psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer conducted a study on Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings. They found that by disconnecting from technology and spending time outdoors, people experience significant improvements in creative problem-solving skills.
Participants in this fascinating study were taken on a backpacking trip that lasted for four days. While on this trip, they were not allowed to use cell phones, computers, iPods or any other type of electronic device. Every day they were challenged with tasks that required creative and critical thinking. The researchers found that participants experienced a 50% improvement in these areas while they were on their nature trip compared to when they were in their usual Urban environment.
Researchers concluded that these results were based on a combination of spending time out in nature and away from Urban noise, as well as disconnecting from electronic devices.
Hiking Changes Your Brain
If you are an avid hiker, then you know firsthand the impact hiking has on your mind and body! When you hike, it helps to clear your mind, increase focus, boost endorphins (feel-good hormones), improve mood, and make you feel grounded. If you haven’t been out in nature or hiking in a while, you probably miss the feeling it gives you.
Hiking Removes Distractions, Stimulates New Ideas And Improves Focus
I think we all can agree that our modern world is LOUD! Not just with noises such as cars, ambulances, music, construction, and television…but also loud with the constant barrage of information and stimuli. We have become so accustomed to a constant stream of noise that for some people it’s actually difficult to sit in silence for short periods of time. Many will turn on music or audiobooks to fill the silence of a drive to work or turn on Netflix if they are home alone.
Getting out and away from the noise and into nature helps us to quiet our minds and souls. When we free up space in our mind that is normally being filled by daily noise, we suddenly have space to think of new ideas, make connections, reflect on our life experiences and focus on what is truly important.
Hiking is a wonderful way to connect with nature in your area or around the world. Get away from the noise, increase your creativity and problem solving, and make some great new friends by exploring your local trails this week! There is no better way to clear the mind and free the soul than with a simple walk through the beauty of Mother Earth.