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The Mental Health Benefits Of Mountain Walking And Climbing

Mountain hiking has obvious benefits for our physical health, but it can also do wonders for our mental health as well. For those seeking challenge and new adventures there are plenty to be found, particularly here in the Scottish Highlands with world-class climbs such as the Skye Cuillin ridge traverse on the doorstep. 


For those who are seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, mountain walking can bring solace and solitude. It can also be a very social activity and a great way to meet new people for those who may feel a little lonely or isolated in life. 


Guided mountain walks are an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the relaxing benefits of walking without any pressures around self-navigation or timing along the route. They are also perfect for those who want the reassurance of some professional guidance and back up on slightly trickier sections of the route involving scrambling or climbing. 


Building confidence and trust

For some, learning how to master a new skill or to trust a climbing partner while they rope themselves up or down difficult rocky terrain can help to build confidence and self-esteem. The sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching the summit of one of Scotland’s highest peaks can bring a natural endorphin rush.


At times, getting to the summit will require you to dig deep with physical and mental toughness. Learning that you can rise to the challenge helps to build resilience and perseverance, and increases your ability to cope with any future demanding situations. 


Fresh perspectives

Mountain climbing brings a fresh perspective on life, not just physically but mentally as well, by breaking you out of usual circles and helping to bring mental clarity and a sense of calmness that can be difficult to find elsewhere. It can help you step out of unhelpful habits of thought and negative self-talk.

 

The breathtaking panoramic views work wonders for reminding you that the world is a vast and beautiful place, helping to make your own cares and worries seem smaller and more manageable. 


The connection between the outdoors and mental health

Many people find solace in observing the wonders of the natural world, whether it’s the hidden life of the bugs and insects that we would normally shrink away from, or the awesome flight of a bird of prey that is so far removed from the human experience. 


This is backed up by multiple scientific studies that demonstrate spending time in nature is helpful for alleviating mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.


Physical exercise and mental health

The gentle rhythmic action of walking, or the greater exertion of scrambling and climbing, can help the body to produce mood-regulating hormones and relieve stress. Outdoor exercise can also improve the quality of sleep, boost mental function, and increase energy levels. 


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