4 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Go Hiking


We all want to be fit and healthy but sometimes it’s really tough to get motivated enough to do the things that are good for us. We’ve all been there, making excuses…

“It’s really difficult to find the time to exercise.”

“Buying a gym membership is really expensive.”

“When I get some time to myself I just want to relax.”

I know, because even though I love exercising, I say the same things to myself all the time! But here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be like that. All these objections are just in our heads, and if we change the way we think about them, we can absolutely overcome them.

I believe hiking is one of the very best ways to get (and stay) healthy. So here’s 4 things that I tell myself to help me get out there and actually do a good workout!

Make a Commitment

Yes, I know it’s difficult to find the time to get fit during the week but guess what! That’s why weekends were invented! So if you’re one of those people who struggle to hit the gym at 6am or 7pm, look for an interesting local trail to do at the weekend. Even better, build a habit. Block off the next four Saturdays and commit to doing four hikes. You can head over to AllTrails.com to find some hikes that work for you. If you want easy trails, choose easy trails. If you don’t like dogs, choose dog-free routes. When we make commitments to ourselves, it’s much easier to follow through.

Recognise That Going Hiking Will Make You Rich

Gym memberships are expensive. Perhaps more importantly, when you’re out on the trail you aren’t spending cash, so hiking won’t just make you fitter, it’ll also make you richer! I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking that you have to buy a lot of specialist gear. But that’s not necessarily true. Firstly, so long as you have a pair of sneakers and a jacket, you’re probably OK for easy trails in good weather. But even if you do feel the need to buy stuff, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can easily find budget boots, budget pants, budget jackets and even budget tents (if you want to go overnight). Or buy second hand from somewhere like GearTrade.com.

It Will Make You Happy

Nature is beautiful. Even hiking a fairly busy trail close to a city will feed your soul. Just being among plants and near animals will make you happy. And that’s a scientific fact! Florence Williams has even written a whole book about it The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. In the book she explores cutting edge science around mental health and conditions such as ADHD. She concludes that nature is far more important to our general well-being than we think. So if you’re looking for a hit of dopamine, you really don’t need to go further than the nearest tree or pond…

You’ll Sleep Better

This is a bit more science-y than the previous point but bear with me. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you wake up you feel awake and sometimes you feel really drowsy? That’s because of the circadian rhythm which is basically our internal clock. Some people call this awake/sleep cycles. Anyway, the point is that staying indoors with electric light disrupts our circadian rhythm, causing us to sleep badly. The great news is that being outdoors can rapidly reset our internal clock, making us sleep better (and therefore feel better). Again, this isn’t mumbo-jumbo; it’s the subject of an in-depth study by Kenneth Wright at University of Colorado.

So there you have it. If you want to feel better, sleep better and get richer, get out on the trail! All you have to do is make a commitment to yourself. Good luck!

Bertie is the editor of EffortlessOutdoors.com which aims to help more people get outdoors more easily. You can also find him on Twitter.


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