In an increasingly hectic and fast-paced world, many people long for deceleration, relaxation and a change from everyday life. „Soft hiking is an increasingly popular way to do this. Soft hiking“ is a type of gentle walking that deliberately focuses on slow walks in nature. In contrast to extended hiking or trekking tours, the focus here is less on the training effect or the distance covered, but rather on the experience of nature. Therefore, „soft hiking“ can be classified somewhere between walks and longer hiking or mountaineering tours. It is also part of the current trend towards deceleration and can also be classified as meditation.
Since the term „soft hiking“ is used more and more often, but many people do not know exactly what is meant by it, it will be explained comprehensively in the following article. The following article will provide a detailed definition of the term, how it works, preferred locations and the advantages and disadvantages of soft hiking.
What is „Soft Hiking“? Meaning, explanation, definition
The name „soft hiking“ comes from the adjective „soft“ and the verb „to hike“, which means „to go hiking“ or „to go mountaineering“. Combined, the term „soft hiking“ can therefore be roughly translated as „gentle hiking or mountaineering“.
The adjective „soft“ is partially contradictory to the verb „to hike“. This is because hiking or mountaineering are usually strenuous activities. However, „soft“ rather stands for activities or conditions in which something is easy or effortless. The adjective therefore weakens the activity of hiking or mountaineering and expresses that it is not the regular form of either activity. Rather, it is a toned-down or reduced version that can be done without much, physical exertion.
How does soft hiking work?
As „soft hiking“ is a gentle, relaxed type of hiking or mountaineering, it focuses more on slow and unconstrained movements in nature. The aim here is not to perform or to gain many metres in altitude, but to enjoy nature and to let your soul dangle.
To enjoy „soft hiking“, basically normal walking or hiking clothes are sufficient. A bottle of water, some provisions and a smartphone for navigation can also be taken along. It is important that „soft hiking“ is carried out in a rather rural, secluded location. Designated hiking trails are suitable for this, but also sights such as old castles or palaces.
There are no time or performance constraints for soft hiking. The route chosen for soft hiking is completed according to your mood. During soft hiking, you can also take as many breaks as you like – either to fortify yourself or to take a closer look at nature and the surroundings.
What is the difference to traditional hiking?
The main difference between soft hiking and traditional hiking are the less demanding routes. These take place in less difficult terrain. More emphasis is placed on the gentle nature of walking. The focus here is less on training effects, such as improving cardiovascular characteristics. Rather, the spirit and soul are to be brought to rest, or inspired by new impressions.
Soft hiking“ also differs from traditional hiking or mountaineering in that the equipment is different. Instead of technical hiking or mountaineering equipment, breathable clothing and some food and drink for the road are usually sufficient for soft hiking. Therefore, compared to hiking or mountaineering, soft hiking is more of a physically and mentally relaxing activity or meditative experience.
Which places are suitable for soft hiking?
Quiet and natural environments are particularly suitable for „soft hiking“. These can be, for example, forests or gentle hilly landscapes, but also lakes or riverbanks. Coastal landscapes or country roads and country lanes with little traffic are also suitable. It is also important that the corresponding routes are well signposted and that little navigation effort is expected. The routes should also be good and easy to walk, and have a varied landscape. Accordingly, parks, public gardens or quiet city centres can also be used for soft hiking. However, the choice of a suitable environment for soft hiking depends largely on the individual interests or preferences of the soft hiker(s). Physical fitness and clothing also play an important role.
To what extent can soft hiking be part of a healthy lifestyle?
Although training and health effects are not particularly important in soft hiking, soft hiking can still be part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. The moderate physical activity of soft hiking is beneficial to cardiovascular health and reduces stress and mental overload. „Soft Hiking also helps to calm the mind and spirit and to strengthen mental health. Furthermore, soft hiking can help to improve cognitive skills and promote creativity. This often has a positive effect on job performance.
Advantages and disadvantages of soft hiking
In the following subsections, all the advantages and disadvantages of soft hiking will be outlined.
- Moderate physical activity (good for the cardiovascular system)
- Reduces stress and calms the mind
- Strengthens the immune system
- Good for general well-being
- Promotes creativity
- Costs little money (as little equipment is needed)
- Does not offer a sporting challenge
- „Soft hiking requires a certain amount of time and planning
- Unsuitable in bad weather or high temperatures
Conclusion on „Soft Hiking
In summary, „soft hiking“ is a relaxed form of hiking or mountaineering that is more for the relaxation of body, mind and soul and can provide inspiration and more creativity. „Soft Hiking“ is therefore suitable for all age groups and always depends on the individual preferences or physical possibilities.
The terms „slow hiking“, „easy hiking“ or „nature walking“ are related to the term „soft hiking“. In principle, all three of these terms are only alternative variants of „soft hiking“, whereby „nature walking“ rather refers to frequent and regular walks in the great outdoors.