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A woman hiking | Source: Shutterstock
A woman hiking | Source: Shutterstock

Is Hiking a Sport? — More about This Outdoor Pursuit and Its Numerous Health Benefits

Milla Sigaba
Jan 12, 2024
08:35 A.M.
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Hiking is not only a great way to immerse yourself in nature and its wild beauty, but, like many other physical activities, it also poses many health benefits. This begs the question, is hiking a sport?

From filling your lungs with fresh air to soaking in breathtaking views of nature, it's not difficult to understand why people love hiking. In fact, research shows that the number of hiking participants in the United States has grown from just over 30 million in 2010 to nearly 60 million in 2022.

Not only does hiking offer an inexpensive way to see more of the world, but it also has numerous health benefits, giving people more reasons to engage in it. And while some consider it to be a sport, with qualities similar to other sports such as trail running, hiking narrowly misses out on being considered one. Continue reading to find out why.

A woman hiking | Source: Getty Images

A woman hiking | Source: Getty Images

Is Hiking a Sport?

Technically, hiking is not considered a sport. A sport, by definition, is a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill and played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job.

From this definition, hiking does not make the cut as a sport. Though it requires a degree of skill, it is typically not done as part of a competition, nor does it come with rules. Seeing as hiking does not meet the essential requirements to be considered a sport, it is safer to think of it as a hobby.

A man hiking in a forest | Source: Getty Images

A man hiking in a forest | Source: Getty Images

Health Benefits of Hiking

Although hiking is not considered a sport, it does not make it any less beneficial for your body. In 2015, a Stanford study found that walking in nature has many mental health benefits and may reduce the risk of stress.

Health professionals have found the other health benefits of hiking to be improved balance and motor skills, and building endurance, among others. Hiking is also good for the heart and blood pressure as it can reduce the risk of heart disease and lower your blood pressure.

A group of friends hiking | Source: Getty Images

A group of friends hiking | Source: Getty Images

And, if you ever find yourself in the middle of a trail and realize you need to charge your Fitbit but don't have a charger, here are five ways to charge your Fitbit without a charger.

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