by Nicole Brown, Girls Who Hike Ohio Ambassador
I moved to the Akron area in Ohio this past summer and I just started hiking more consistently in October of 2017. In this short amount of time, I have come to realize that hiking has eased my anxiety and my overall health.
When I’m hiking I noticed that my everyday worries in life start to matter a little less. I’m able to take in the nature and focus on my photography. I can push all the drama of life to the back of my mind and enjoy my hike.
Your mind can relax when you’re focused on something physical. When I’m in nature and I’m hiking, using my whole body, it starts to feel refreshing. Balancing on rocks while I cross streams, walking up steep hills or stairs, or climbing rock ledges is when I can feel my body and mind start to focus and relax.
I’ve also realized that this is the exercise that works for me. I used to play soccer in high school and college, nothing competitive. But, I was in shape. Right now, I’m nowhere in the same shape as I was in years ago so I needed to find something that challenged my body but that was realistic to what I could handle. I know I have found that in hiking. I hate running with a passion. I’ve tried many times to get up and “go for a run” but I just never really enjoy it even if I’m with others. I like hiking because it feels natural to me and I can take my time.
Paired with hiking, I’ve also started taking pictures. This has helped my anxiety also. I love hiking slow and just taking in everything I see but also trying to get good pictures during the hike. This helps me mentally I feel and completely relaxes me. It’s not a race and I can make a two-mile hike take as long as I need or want.
Overall, I’m really enjoying the start of my new adventure.