Hiking has many health benefits that one can gain by simply challenging what nature has given us. Besides the incredible views and unique vantage points, hiking can boost creativity, improve mental health, and help you along a weight loss or body strengthening journey. We've found some major benefits to getting outside. Read up to get inspired!
If you're feeling the stress of life weighing you down, feeling stumped at work about a certain project, or not feeling as motivated - going on a hike can help you with that. Research indicates that exposure to natural settings seems to replenish some lower-level modules of the executive attentional system and boost problem solving by 50%. So if the boss hands you a new project, put a hike into your calendar and step away from your desk to get the creativity juices flowing!
Getting into nature and off the phone has proven effects when it comes to living a happier life. One study stated, "a group experience of regularly monitored mountain hiking is associated with an improvement of hopelessness, depression, and suicide ideation in patients suffering from high-level suicide risk." You are bombarded every day with news and other people’s highlights of life, but it’s time to make some highlights of your own! Unplugging and getting your eyes off a screen can help relieve stress build-up and strengthen your mental health. Strong bodies are great, but a strong mind is essential. So don't forget to put in the work to a healthier mental state.
You don’t have to be climbing mountains to receive the benefits of a hike. It’s very easy to wish you were somewhere else, but try to appreciate your surroundings by exploring your hometown! Embrace being a tourist in your own city and step off the path into nature. Find a local park, nature reserve, or trails nearby and you’ll find yourself soaking in the beauty Mother Nature has to offer. Who knows, you may even become interested in bird calling if you’re out listening to the orchestra of the outdoors! On top of that awesome new bird-calling skill you might pick up, you'll be giving yourself a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Giving your body more Vitamin D has a lot of benefits but don't forget to grab that sunscreen!
Getting off the treadmill and onto the beaten path can lead to better results in your exercise routine. If you think walking and hiking are the same, think again. Research shows that your joints, heart, and muscles perform in different ways in the two activities. In one study, it was revealed that uneven terrain (as opposed to a road or sidewalk) will cause the body to exert up to 28% more energy. So while you may think that the two activities are similar, boost your workout by exploring more! Adding more elements like backpacks filled with gear will also give you additional results. The extra weight will only help, we promise! So pack a light lunch, grab your camera, don't forget the water, and you're on your way to building more muscle.
Hiking can lead you to many places; however, you never want to end up somewhere unexpected without being prepared. Safety first! This is why having the right gear, being aware of yourself and your surroundings, and always leaving a note are essential.