Hiking is Good for Mental Health

9:57 PM

To start off my 2019, I decided to learn how to drive with the help of my dad. I am currently on the basics and have driven our van for a few rounds around an industrial area. It is thrilling to hold the stirring wheel and be able to start off the engine and drive slowly. I promise that this 2019, I will learn new things and push myself to go out of my comfort zone. I will be a non-pro driver and I will be willing to try out new things this year!

So, another opportunity came. A friend from work pushed me to join a hike last Sunday. And I am grateful she pushed me to join them. Because if not, I would not be able to realize these things. 

I am for healthy mind and body this year so why turn down the chance to go through my first mountain climb?

I was hesitant at first because I have broken my exercise routine since I started out on my new job. I was worried I would not be able to finish the climb because I am not ready for a long walk and a challenging hike. But I am very lucky because my first hike is at Mt. Ulap. 

Mt. Ulap is located at Itogon, Benguet which is about 4-5 hours away from Manila. The route is about 9 kms long and the peak is about 1,800 masl. The whole hike (traverse) took us 8 hours to finish. But the journey is all worth it. 

Hiking is good way to maintain positive mental health. It has several benefits that could not only make you feel better but will also make you a better person. 

Hiking is a good way to keep your hands off your phone and all things that connects you to the world, especially social media. Daily emails and notifications from social media accounts are source of negative vibes and climbing a mountain is good way to have a break from the negativity. According to studies, while on break from social media, hiking may also help boost your creativity. 

Nature has its way in calming our senses. It offers fresh air and an amazing view which also lessen negative thoughts and overthinking. It relaxes the brain and keeps you away from stress even for a few hours. The sound of the wind and the silence that surrounds you offers inner peace as well. 

Hiking is an excellent form of exercise especially when done often. It is a great way to burn calories and can be a motivating form of exercise since you are spending your time outdoors rather than with gym equipment. Hiking is a form of "ecotherapy" which is good for the mind and the body. It will surely stretch out your muscles and challenge your joints while traversing the mountain. 

Hiking is a productive way to spend time with your friends. You are not only doing it for your body but also with your buddies. Through hiking you will be able to sport teamwork and cooperation especially on difficult hikes. It is a great time to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of nature and to exercise with your friends. 

Mt. Ulap is good for beginners like me. At first, I was terrified of the trail because honestly, the start of the trail is the most challenging part of the journey. But as you go deeper into the mountain, you will get used to it. I climbed without any preparation (that's why I had muscle pains for 2 days) but all went well. 

I must say if given the chance to stay longer, the trail can really be healing. The scenic view around me when we reached the three different peaks seemed to be sucking up all the negative thoughts inside me and replaced it with a grateful feeling. A feeling that made me realized that I am so blessed to witness all these beautiful things. We have witnessed the sun rise and it was an unforgettable breathtaking experience. Not all people can experience these and I am lucky to be one of the few. That day I feel that I am somehow connected with nature. Witnessing these beautiful creation is an eye opener. 

But do not go into hiking alone. Make sure you have buddies with you or you will join a group of hikers. Every mountain has different characteristics and you should expect different levels of difficulty so, a companion is a must especially if you are a beginner. Hiking is not just for those who wants to do soul-searching. It is a simple physical activity that may also help you alleviate everyday stress and negative thoughts that is necessary to maintain a positive mental health. 

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