Does the thought of taking the strides to become a seasoned hiker fill you with dread? Are you unsure if you have the stamina for stomping?
Good news – there’s a new TikTok fitness trend for you. Enter: soft hiking.
The trend was popularised by the account @softgirlswhohike, run by two women called Lucy and Emily.
It’s less about beating personal bests, pushing your body to its physical limits and carrying on for one final view, and instead about taking your time, enjoying the nature around you, taking plenty of breaks and making the most of being in the great outdoors.
In the words of @softgirlswhohike: “Hiking doesn’t have to be hard.”
Since the trend picked up traction on the popular social media app, users have shared their own soft hiking walks and experiences.
Others have even spoken about the phrase making them want to take up hiking again after finding it too difficult before.
How to take a soft hike
Rooted in mindfulness and enjoying life’s simple pleasures, a soft hike takes away most of the pressures of excursions.
Instead, it encourages you to do what brings you joy on your hike. Whether this is enjoying the fauna along trails, taking photographs, having a picnic or even stopping to read a book for a while – rest and joy are encouraged.
Basically: take exactly what you need to have the day that works for you and maybe consider keeping your phone charged in case you get lost.
Unlike traditional hiking, soft hiking is accessible to all fitness levels and can be a great way to get the NHS-recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
Mental health benefits of walking in nature
Soft hikes can also greatly improve your mental health as, according to Bupa, both walking and being in nature can improve your mood, reduce anxiety and help you connect to the world around you.
Additionally, walking can help you get a better night’s sleep, increase your energy, improve your confidence and reduce your risk of depression.
Don’t live near the countryside? That’s fine, too! Users on Tiktok have documented doing soft hikes in cities and making the most of the beauty and nature that urban neighbourhoods have to offer.