The advantages of hiking extend far beyond the physical body. It’s true that this activity lowers your stress levels, tones your muscles and helps you to stay fit.
But other than that, hiking helps to strengthen the relationships you have with friends, colleagues, family or spouse. It brings you closer to people in ways that no activity can. In this article, I’ll explain a few things that hiking teaches about relationships.
Due to the overwhelming demands of the modern lifestyle, most couples are occupied with their jobs for 7 or more hours every day. This means that they rarely communicate with their partners. The end result is a lot of misunderstanding and arguing.
One of the best ways to foster communication is to go for a hike together. Planning the hike itself requires that you constantly interact with each other and agree on the perfect hiking spot, a schedule that works for both of you as well as deciding what gear to bring.
During the hike, you’ll also have to communicate with your partner (whether that’s your friend or significant other).
The greatest portion of your hike will involve climbing hills, crossing streams and traversing rocky terrains with your partner. If you get stuck along the way, the only person you can ask help from is your partner. Similarly, if there’s no cellphone reception, you’ll have to communicate and figure out the best way to overcome the challenges you face.
When you’re walking to a campsite that is miles away and darkness seems to be setting in quickly, you can feel pretty frightened. So when your partner asks that he/she takes a short break, it’s natural to feel like they’re slowing you down.
Similarly, if your hiking buddy suffers an injury, you might have to stop for a while to help them. One of the reasons why people suffer injuries and end up suffering from problems like shin splints is because they hike too fast. The ideal way is to start slow and increase your pace gradually.
In all these situations, the one thing you need to overcome them is patience. Yes, you may arrive late at your campsite. But at the end of the day, what matters is that you tend to your partner and guarantee their safety.
By exercising patience during your hike, you learn how to be patient with your partner even in real life. The same way you allow your hiking buddy to rest for a couple of minutes is the same way you can wait for them when they’re running late for your game night.
Another virtue that you learn through hiking is how to compromise. Let’s say a couple has gone hiking with their 4-year-old baby. For the most part, the couple will have to choose kid-friendly routes even if it will take them longer to get to their destination. On the bright side, the entire family is able to enjoy the hike together.
Similarly, if you were hiking with your partner and they got too tired, you can offer to carry their backpack so that you can get to your destination faster.
Compromise is an important trait that you can take from your hiking adventures and apply it in your daily interactions. It’s important to note that compromise is different from sacrifice. With compromise, two people concur on one thing with the aim of achieving a specific goal. On the other hand, sacrifice is biased since it only caters to the needs of one party.
Regardless of how busy you and your hiking buddy are, it’s important that you plan the hike together. Look for time a few days before to finalise the plan. This way, each one of you knows where your hiking trip will be and the specific gear to bring.
The benefit of hiking with a partner is that you can share the load. For instance, one of you can carry food while the other carries bedding and outfits you’ll need.
During the hike, you should be aware of your strengths and limits. If you can’t climb for an hour without taking a break, inform your buddy. Hunger and lack of water are often the causes of the emotions you feel. Snack and hydrate as often as you need to, to avoid getting overwhelmed with negative feelings.
Hiking with a friend, relative or spouse is a memorable and enjoyable experience. It gives you an opportunity to bond as you interact and come up with solutions to the challenges you encounter. Through this activity, you learn how to communicate effectively, exercise patience and compromise.