Hiking is a wonderful activity that provides fun and enjoyment. It also can provide a good workout… depending on the difficulty, pace, and elevation change of the hike.
So, why is the jury out on whether or not is hiking is a hobby or a sport? Because on paper, it seems that it could be classified as either or both, depending on a number of variables. Today, we’ll discuss those as we help you decide if you view hiking as a hobby or hiking as a sport.
Is Hiking a Hobby or a Sport? Our Answer…
As an avid hiker myself, I personally feel that hiking is a hobby. I recall that most of the hikes I embarked upon from the start were for fun. I wanted to see new places and take in the scenery… while relaxing and just enjoying nature. I didn’t equate it to work, as I would a sport.
I do recall on occasion working up a sweat on more than a few different hiking trails. Granted, many were done during summer, but still. A number of them did have a higher difficulty level and were more strenuous than others.
Some even required some light climbing and scrambling up a hill or rock face. Even so, I didn’t feel I was participating in a sport per se.
Although they were not always a leisurely as others, they were still enjoyable. I was surrounded by nature… and the sun shining on my face helped me feel at peace.
Why Would Some People Consider Hiking a Sport?
It’s definitely up for debate as to whether you should consider hiking to be a sport more than a hobby. There are a considerable number of people who would think of it as a sport more than a hobby. There are some variables to consider, such as:
1. Hiking is a sport if it’s a fast-paced, timed hike.
Some would consider hiking a sport if they are trying to achieve a certain timed goal for the hike. Perhaps it’s the second or third time they’ve attempted the same hike, and they’re competing with themselves to better their time. The faster they are moving to achieve their goal, the better the workout they get.
2. Hiking is a sport if it requires specialized equipment, footwear, and apparel.
Many people would argue that if they are investing a moderate to a high amount of money in the equipment they need or want to use for hiking, that helps define it as a sport. For example, specialized hiking shoes or boots that easily cost three figures.
Likewise, there are a number of types of hiking rain jackets, waterproof hiking pants, and other apparel that can be quite expensive. Even things like compasses, GPS devices, and binoculars for watching birds and animals can run a hiker quite a bit of money and make the purchaser feel like they are participating in a sport more than a hobby.
3. Hiking may be considered a sport if it’s a strenuous workout.
When hiking on a nice flat trail with no obstacles, one might feel that they’re participating in a leisurely activity or hobby. However, when hiking on a far more difficult route with elevation changes, it’s easy to conclude that they may be participating in a sport. If they sweat due to the physical nature and difficulty of the hike, it’s easy to classify hiking as a sport.
Final Thoughts on Hiking as a Hobby VS a Sport
There are some key points for both camps to argue on this. First, let’s look at the intent of the hike. If it is meant to be more leisurely and fun, versus trying to beat a certain time goal, you’ll view it differently.
Finally, the difficulty of the hike and the amount of exercise one is getting can help classify hiking as a sport more than a hobby. Based on these points and more, I consider hiking more of a hobby for myself than a sport – especially at the age I am currently at. Yet, I can still see how others may consider it a sport.
Give hiking a try if you haven’t done it before, or if it’s been a long time since you last hiked. Then decide for yourself if you consider it to be a hobby or a sport. Regardless of your decision, I’ll bet you have a wonderful time doing it.