Is Hiking A Sport: 5 Basic Reasons Why Hiking Is Not A Sport

Many recreational activities are viewed as sports, and you may be wondering if hiking is included in this category. To make it short: No, hiking is not a sport.

The debate over whether hiking is a sport will always be a point of contention between skeptics and believers. We set out in this article to define the true definitions of sports and hiking, to argue why hiking is not a sport, and to highlight the benefits of hiking.

What Is Sport?

Cambridge dictionary defines a sport as a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment, and/or as a job. The oxford learners dictionary defines sport as an activity that you do for pleasure and that needs physical effort or skill, usually done in a special area and according to fixed rules.

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), previously known as SportAccord, is the umbrella organization for the world’s top sports federations and defines sport as any organized physical activity or game that is competitive.

While many sources define sport differently, there appears to be international consensus on the GAISF definition of sport.

The European Sports Charter expands on this definition by stating that competitive physical activity or game is intended to utilize, maintain, or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some situations, spectators.

In sport, a system of rules or traditions governs the play to maintain a level playing field and allow for the consistent determination of a winner.

A set of criteria established by GAISF must be fulfilled before an activity is classified as a sport. They include the following:

  • There should be competitiveness
  • It must not be harmful to any creature
  • A single supplier should not provide all the equipment required
  • The activity must not rely on any element of “luck”

Some sports experts have added additional criteria, such as the requirement for a primary goal/means of determining a win. For example, in football, the winner is defined by the team that scores the most goals, while in driving, the winner is determined by the driver who finishes first. Each recognized sport has established methods for choosing a champion.

Finally, a sport should fit into these five general classes:

  • Primarily physical: football or athletics
  • Primarily mind: chess
  • Predominantly motorized: Formula 1
  • Primarily co-ordination: billiard sports
  • Primarily animal-supported: equestrian sport

How Is Hiking Defined?

The phrase “hike” has become the most often used term to describe the act of going for a stroll in the countryside. A hike is considered by many as an adventure that may take up a large amount of the day and necessitates the use of a backpack to carry your supplies. It’s not simply a brief stroll around country roads.

The Cambridge dictionary succinctly defines hiking as the activity of going for long walks in the countryside. Similarly, Britannica describes hiking as walking in nature as a recreational activity.

You can hike almost anywhere, although it generally entails taking long walks across difficult terrain with some ups and downs along the way. While hiking, you’ll be able to see breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders that you wouldn’t often see in cities and towns.

Hiking, by its very nature, is not a competition.

Hiking is a way to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of the city and into the beauty of nature. It’s all about getting your heart pumping and clearing your head. Hiking is popular for several reasons, including the scenery, exercise, and meeting new people.

Why Is Hiking Not a Sport?

Simply put, hiking is not a sport because it is a non-competitive form of recreation.

To be classified as a sport, it must fulfill certain criteria. These criteria include physical exertion, competitiveness, skill, and entertainment, as well as having a well-known organization.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these key elements to see why hiking does not qualify as a sport.

1. Lack of Competition

A significant part of the majority of sports definitions is the competitive component. Whether between individuals or whole teams, sports rely on competition to advance the activity. Lack of competition is one of the main reasons this activity does not qualify as a sport.

If you try to make hiking competitive by mandating quicker route completion speeds, you are neglecting the importance of the actual intent of hiking and lowering the overall recreational quality (Further reading: What’s the average hiking speed?).

2. Lack of Entertainment Value

Participants in a sport provide entertainment for others around them.

People generally gather to see who is best at a sport, so it should provide lots of fun. Soccer, boxing, and rugby are just a few of the sports that draw millions of people both in-person and from the comfort of their own homes.

Hiking, on the other hand, is devoid of entertainment value.

Apart from the beautiful scenery and intriguing fauna, there’s little to see of the hiker’s performance. If you go for a hike, do not expect to see anyone cheering you on from the sidelines.

3. It’s All Up to You When It Comes to Physical Activity

Hiking, without a doubt, necessitates a certain level of physical fitness. However, unlike many physical sports, the physical conditioning necessary here does not put you under any strain.

Hiking allows you to take your time, take breaks as needed, and even leave the trek anytime you feel you can no longer continue. There will be no consequences if you opt to rest for many hours or even abandon the trek.

4. Lack of An Organizing/Regulatory Body

To ensure the integrity of a sport, official organizations are critical to the process.

The sport’s integrity is maintained by official organizations, which keep track of competition events.

In contrast, hiking does not have any such regulatory bodies. As a result, there aren’t any laws dictating how fast you should hike, how long you should stop, or what gear you should bring, to mention a few.

You may run into regulations related to environmental safety, such as not littering or feeding wild animals, if you’re hiking in a place with such rules.

5. You Do Not Get Rewards for Your Hiking Prowess

There are several degrees of hiking and a distinct divide between experts and novices. Every activity known to man requires some amount of skill, and hiking is no different.

Professional hikers are adept in navigating tough terrain and typically carry more advanced hiking equipment.

However, hiking is a recreational activity, and you should never do something for which you lack the necessary expertise. As previously stated, there are no rewards or penalties associated with having more skills.

What Are the Benefits of Hiking?

Due to the numerous physical and mental health advantages associated with hiking, it is one of the finest workouts for both your body and mind. Additionally, it is more practical than many other sports. Because hikers may choose their terms and speed, hikers of any age or skill level can select a trip that provides an acceptable amount of difficulty.

The following are some of the advantages of hiking:

Mental and emotional benefits:

  1. Hiking enhances the quality of sleep
  2. Hiking helps to refresh the mind and alleviates tension
  3. Hiking is a great way to disconnect from everyday society
  4. Hiking is an excellent opportunity to meet new people and reinforce old bonds

Physical benefits:

  1. Hiking is a cardiovascular-friendly activity that is good for your heart
  2. Hiking aids with weight loss
  3. Hiking is good for your bones, muscles, and joints, all of which benefit from physical activity
  4. Hiking can help increase exposure to the sun, which is critical for preventing vitamin D insufficiency

Conclusion: Is Hiking A Sport?

While hiking requires physical effort and expertise, it is devoid of competition, entertainment, and a governing organization. As a result, it does not qualify as a sport.

The majority of individuals feel that hiking is primarily a leisure activity, undertaken to connect with nature and her splendor, rather than to compete.

Last Update: 28. March 2022
About the Author

My name is Thomas, and I love the outdoors. I'm currently living in Germany and I would like to encourage my readers to go outside with this blog. Here you can read more about me.