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Fresh air and time in nature revealed to be top reasons to hike

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It’s official: the top reasons for getting your hiking boots on are breathing fresh air and spending time in nature (Image credit: Getty)

It’s official: the top reasons for getting your hiking boots on are breathing fresh air and spending time in nature, according to British walking charity The Ramblers. The group announced the results of a survey of walkers as part of a move to encourage people to stay active outdoors throughout the cold winter months with their Walk Your Way in Winter campaign.

The survey was conducted by YouGov plc exclusively for The Ramblers and found that fresh air was the primary motivating factor for people to get out on a hike, with 70% reporting it as their top reason.

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Enjoying walking, connecting with nature, and getting fresh air are things that more of us than ever have valued since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic (Image credit: Devon)

The Ramblers is a non-profit organization whose goal is to protect the ability of people to enjoy the sense of freedom and benefits that come from being outdoors on foot. Tom Platt, Director of Advocacy and Operations for the group, says this has become even more vital since the start of the pandemic. 

“Enjoying walking, connecting with nature, and getting fresh air are things that more of us than ever have valued since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as we head into winter the Ramblers is here to inspire and encourage everyone to embrace the season and get the most out of being outdoors.”

A couple enjoying a snowy winter hikes.jp

Nearly 50% of respondents are motivated by the appeal of spending time in nature (Image credit: Joel Addams)

In addition, the poll found that nearly 50% of respondents are motivated by the appeal of spending time in nature, while almost a third reported walking regularly for health and over a third said they walk to relax.

“A winter walk has proven health and wellbeing benefits, like topping up your Vitamin D levels and boosting your mood, but we know the shorter days and colder weather can make it harder to get motivated, so we’ve got lots of inspiration and tips to get everyone out enjoying winter walking,” says Platt.

A lone walker in scotland's winter mountains

The primary obstacle for people when it comes to getting out on a hike or walk is poor weather (Image credit: Getty Images)

The poll found that the primary obstacle for people when it comes to getting out on a hike or walk is poor weather, whether that means rain, cold temperatures or shorter days. Of course, knowing what to wear for winter hiking can help you overcome this, while fun and unusual events like full moon hiking can be a good way to adapt to the early sunsets at this time of year. In addition, The Ramblers have released a free Walk Your Way bingo card to help you stay motivated this winter. 

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Adventure.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.