- Simply put: Hiking is Good for you!
- Improves Mental Health / Reduces Stress
- Increases your Energy Levels and Stamina
- Aids in Weight Loss
- Boosts your Bone Density
- Better Mood & Problem Solving
- Lowers the Risk of Cancer
- Helps to Prevent/Control Diabetes
- Good for the Heart
- Improves your Posture
- Controls Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels
Simply put: Hiking is Good for you!
We are all struggling to stay healthy in an era where lifestyle diseases have become the order of the day.
One of the best approaches to staying wholesome is to engage yourself in constant exercise, and hiking provides an economical method of enhancing your activity level.
Not only does it provide you with an awesome opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature in its rawest form, but also comes with an array of both physical and mental health benefits.
No wonder more people are switching from going to the gym to going out for a hike or trek in an effort to keep their bodies in shape.
So what are the main health benefits of hiking?
Improves Mental Health / Reduces Stress
The Mayo Clinic, contends that stress can lead to symptoms such as headaches, stomach upset, fatigue and even sleeping disorder. They further propose that constant physical activity can do a great job of helping you to cope with this.
The implication is that hiking can offer the perfect route to take a break from your troubles and enjoy some piece of mind.
Having a sense of mental harmony and clarity is crucial to making it in various scopes of your life. Hiking serves to improve your mental health so that you can deliver on all fronts.
Increases your Energy Levels and Stamina
Surely one of the main health benefits of hiking. Hiking is an aerobic activity that increases the level of oxygen in the blood helping to fuel your muscles, tissues, and organs. The extra energy helps to strengthen your muscles and improving your lung capacity while increasing your alertness and energy levels.
Additionally, it helps to boost body strength and stamina by helping you to achieve a natural resistance against fatigue. Whereas uphill climbs build calves and gluts, trekking downhill does a good job of toning the quadriceps. This eventually leads to very flexible muscles.
Aids in Weight Loss
Obesity is a condition that physicians keep warning against because of its tendency to attract a good share of diseases. One way to keep your weight in check is to adopt a regular hiking regimen.
According to Diabetic Lifestyle, hiking burns around 240 calories per hour for a 150-pound individual. This can make such a huge difference if you were to set aside just one hour of hiking in a day.
One of the leading reasons why people fall back on their weight loss goals is because they don’t enjoy going to the gym and the dieting plans. With hiking, you will hardly notice that you’re exercising considering that it is fun and you get to see the outdoors. Weight loss is one of the biggest health benefits of hiking.
Boosts your Bone Density
As we grow old, our bones tend to weaken and we become more prone to falls and sometimes broken body parts. Diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis also become prevalent. A great way to prevent this is by going for regular hikes every time you get the chance.
Data from the CDC shows that 150 minutes of hiking in a week helps to keep your joints flexible while staving off joint stiffness, which is associated with osteoarthritis.
Given that walking is a weight-bearing exercise, hiking will ensure that your bones develop to be strong and reduce the process of bone loss.
Better Mood & Problem Solving
Hiking through a calm, quiet, and beautiful wooded region can do a lot to settle down your nerves and free your mind of all the negative thoughts. It can be a wonderful stress reliever when you are having trouble at work or dealing with uncertainties in life.
Hiking also provides a good opportunity to interact with other enthusiasts and share ideas.
This is a great way to gain moral support and find a more effective way of dealing with your problems. The result is that you get to enhance your mood and limit the onset of anxiety or even depression.
Lowers the Risk of Cancer
Ok now the title of this section may be a bit confusing, but essentially the research out there links Physical Activity (of which Hiking is a fantastic one) to a reduction in Cancer, meaning that the healthier you are, the better chance you stand at fighting off Cancer.
Just to clarify, it doesn’t mean that Hiking will remove Cancer but this part of the article is just to really highlight the cardiovascular benefits of Hiking and its other benefits.
Research has shown that there is a link between physical activity and a reduced risk of some cancers. For instance, your chances of contracting colon cancer and breast cancer are significantly decreased when you take part in regular exercise.
A study carried on breast cancer survivors revealed that those who hiked regularly believed that the physical exercise complemented the recovery from cancer treatment. Going on a hike is also a good way of keeping endometrial cancer at bay.
Helps to Prevent/Control Diabetes
Physicians have always advised diabetes patients to walk regularly as a way of managing the disease. Physical activity helps to control diabetes by working your muscles, which in turn moves the glucose in your system into the bloodstream for energy production. This reduces the level of insulin in the body, thereby limiting the degenerative impact of diabetes.
Hiking has proven to be a highly effective way of regulating the blood-glucose levels in the body.
It is just a form walking; only that it requires slightly more effort because of the possible elevations and steepness of the trail. This makes it an even more effective method of preventing or managing diabetes.
Good for the Heart
Hiking has been shown to improve your cardiovascular health. Remember that just like the biceps and the triceps, your heart is also a muscle that needs to be worked out every once in a while. This results in a strong muscle to keep on pumping blood consistently and remain strong.
Hiking is a good cardio workout that helps to get your heart rate up.
This ends up in increased cardiovascular health and stamina of the cardiac muscles. Efficient functioning of the heart ensures that there is an adequate supply of blood to every tissue and muscle in the body. Improving the quality of the heart is clearly one of the main health benefits of hiking
Improves your Posture
Hiking ensures that you get up on both feet more often and remain in this position for a while. Continued bipedal locomotion assists to improve your posture, strengthen the joints, and eliminate any stress along the spinal region. This means you won’t have to deal with back issues, which are synonymous with people who spend most of their time in a sitting position.
Controls Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels
High blood pressure and cholesterol in the body can have devastating effects if left unchecked for a long time. Hiking is also a fine way of regulating your blood pressure and cholesterol. It helps to reduce both, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Generally, physical activity will work wonders to your physical, as well as mental health. But it gets even better when you are enjoying the activity and not doing it just for the sake. Unlike going to the gym, hiking has proven to be an entertaining exercise that you can even adopt as a hobby.
The above health benefits of hiking show just how crucial a part it can play if you choose to turn your unhealthy habits around and start leading a healthy life.