America is home to miles and miles of trails that wind through some of the world’s most spectacular scenery – no matter where you live you’re likely to be within a day’s drive of some outstanding options backpacking. If you just purchased one of the Knoxville houses for sale, the over 2,180-mile-long Appalachian Trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine with a portion running through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is practically in your backyard making it a not-to-be-missed opportunity. 

If you’ve never gone backpacking, there are many reasons to try it – odds are, you’re likely to be hooked, planning many of your trips around the trails.

Enjoy the Benefits of Being Immersed Among Nature

Taking a walk while you’re immersed in nature brings many benefits to the mind and body. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that it reduces levels of the so-called stress hormone, cortisol, and lowers blood pressure too. It can help ease many stress-related conditions like depression, anxiety, digestive problems, and chronic pain as well as boost creativity.

It’s More Budget-Friendly

There’s no doubt that backpacking is going to be a lot cheaper than staying at an all-inclusive resort. While you’ll need to invest in the gear, once you’ve done that you’re practically set. When you’re out on the trail you can camp along the way or, in some cases, stay at inexpensive hostels. 

It’s a Great Opportunity to Meet Like-Minded People and Learn Something from Others

While you’re backpacking you’ll probably meet all kinds of different people, many of whom are naturally like-minded simply because they’re on the trail too. You may have the opportunity to get advice, learn something new and perhaps make some new friends. 

It Builds Self-Confidence

One of the natural results of doing something adventurous like backpacking is an increase in self-confidence. Becoming immersed in unknown territory brings a nearly immediate shift in confidence levels, with each experience building even more confidence by challenging yourself just a bit further. 

It Keeps You Mentally Sharp

Any new experience can help keep you mentally sharp, but there’s been scientific research that’s shown physical activities like hiking and backpacking actually grow the hippocampus which plays a major role in learning and memory. This complex brain structure typically begins to shrink as you age, which can lead to impaired memory or even dementia. Just three 40-minute walks a week for a year were found to grow the hippocampus by an average of 2 percent which experts say can help improve memory retention for years. If just that relatively small amount of walking can have such a positive effect, imagine what backpacking can do for the brain?

It Can Enhance Your Career

The confidence-building aspect that backpacking brings can naturally enhance your career in many ways, but there are lots of other benefits that can help increase the odds of success too. When you put yourself in situations that don’t necessarily go just like you planned, it can help you learn to cope better with the inevitable challenges in life. Problem solving, adaptability and decision making all contribute to greater effectiveness in the workplace and beyond.