When planning for a hiking excursion, what comes to mind? The adventure aspect of it, right! So you get excited and gather all you need from the outfit all the way to the hiking gear required. The benefits of hiking, however, go far beyond the adventure it offers. Is hiking good for you? Oh heck yes, all of you – your body, mind, moods, and even your relationships.
Here are 4 ways hiking is good for you:
1. Physical Health Benefits of Hiking:
Notably, the first hiking benefits you get for the body is physical fitness. Here are the ways you gain physically through hiking.
Better cardiovascular health
A simple thirty-minute walk can help you achieve an increment in cardiovascular well-being. And this is because you are pushing your body to take in more oxygen through the lungs.
As this action occurs, you train your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to work at their best. The result is a healthier cardiovascular system capable of fighting off adverse heart diseases and conditions.
This helps prevent strokes and heart attacks and reduce systolic blood pressure, as reported in the NCBI American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine published in 2016.
It boosts bone health
As you walk, you are physically moving your bones back and forth, up and down. And this movement is instrumental in several ways to your bone health.
First, the musculoskeletal system involving the bones, muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments becomes sturdy and more robust.
The joints become more mobile and flexible since there is a boost of blood and nutritional circulation reaching these spots. Nutrients and oxygen reach faster and facilitate speedy healing if you get injured.
Additionally, you maintain your bone mass at an optimal, which notably reduces bone breakages, and the development of joint diseases like arthritis—lowers the rate of osteoporosis. Your backbone also benefits from hiking; thus, you gain more stability reducing the likelihood of falling, and your posture becomes better.
And lastly, you can fight off back pain effectively.
Now, why wouldn’t you want to reap all these fruits?
Hiking helps in body weight management
Besides diet, hiking is good for you since it can also help you manage your weight. Michelle lost 27 pounds hiking.
Hiking is a simple way to burn off all that extra calories. After that, it can be instrumental in helping the browning of body fat.
Brown fat, also known as brown adipose tissue, is considered good body fat since our bodies package it in smaller spaces than white fat. And when brown fat burns, it produces heat without causing you to shiver.
While you trek, you are more likely to produce a protein called Irisin, which aids in transforming fat from white to brown. This helps in losing that extra weight significantly.
When body fat is under control, the body’s cholesterol level drops, blood pressure is balanced, preventing strokes, heart attacks, and obesity.
2. Mental Health Benefits of Hiking
The physical movement of your body has a very positive effect on your mind too. As you walk, the blood rushes to the brain and offers enough oxygen, facilitating better brain health. Consequently, hiking generally improves memory, cognition, moods, and provides a reflexive mental practice.
Helps curb stress and depression
Hiking helps you to become less susceptible to depressive and stress-induced conditions. The Kings College orchestrated a study review involving 49 subjects. It was published in The Telegraph stating that trekking even for twenty minutes minimizes your chances of getting depression by a ⅓.
Improves your cognitive state of mind and memory
Cognitively, you became better at performing intelligence tests. This helps you recall correct answers faster when you take up hiking as an activity—a Harvard Health report in 2016 backs up this argument.
Another Osaka University Japan review published by Satoru Kawamura in 2007 attests that 17 expert hikers performed better in memory tests remembering 60 pictures than 18 novice hikers. This showed that the activity makes you pay close attention and retain most of the things seen and experienced.
Hiking instigates the production of endorphins and other beneficial seropositive proteins
As you walk, your brain also releases endorphins, which give you a sense of happiness and freedom. These neurochemicals are instrumental in giving you this feeling, and this, in turn, aids in decreasing the body’s sensitivity to pain and stress.
On that same note, a protein called BDNF is released, which aids neural development and survival. BDNF is fundamental in synaptic expansivity and cognitive functionality, aiding better memory. It is vital as it helps to keep degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease at bay.
Hiking helps fight mental and physical burnout
Don’t you hate feeling worn out and burned out?
So do you know that hiking could help you rejuvenate your mind drift and reduce mental fatigue?
A 2008 study carried out by the University of Georgia states that mild exercise as hiking significantly reduces mind tiredness. A hike of only twenty to thirty minutes a day registered a sixty-five percent decrease in mental and physical exhaustion.
Hiking boosts creativity
Creatives also have a significant advantage when they hike. Walking and connecting with your surroundings could bring you a fresh perspective and offer you inspiration for your work.
Painters are not the only advantaged lads as writers, photographers, and the rest could benefit from this. A Stanford 2014 study illustrated that there was a sixty percent improvement in creativity to hiking subjects.
3. Spiritual Benefits
Michelle used to try and meditate at home. She still does, sort of. But hiking? That’s where she talks to God the most. That’s where she finds the most clarity and direct connection to what she calls, “The Mystery”. Everything is quiet, peaceful, serene – everything else outside of the experience shuts off.
It creates a connectivity channel
Hiking is good for you since it allows you to connect all the three elements of your being-body, mind, and soul. The body benefits through the physical movement, the mind is the facilitator, and the soul reaps the fruits.
As you walk and become conscious of your surroundings, you become calm and gain clarity. Being in this spiritual realm creates an interlinked stream of knowledge, consciousness, and self-awareness, enabling you to feel connected and at peace.
It bears fruits of inspiration to creatives
Creativity also streams in from the soul. Thus, the effects and hiking benefits show through your creative works. Walking soothes your soul by giving the body and mind a break from everyday tiring life.
And this offers you a new perspective on things that may be fundamental in your artistic creations, offering you a boost to create something more aligned to your true self-expression.
4. Social Benefits of Hiking
Humans are social animals. People are always looking for activities to bond over with their loved ones, and hiking is one such activity that can strengthen the social aspect.
Most companies and groups prefer having a hiking excursion to help in the following areas.
Hiking in groups promotes sportsmanship and teamwork
Hiking can be a team-building activity for a group of friends and colleagues. Most trekking excursions result in the creation of cohesive teams that bond as they carry out the exercise.
If you happen to be part of this group, you will notice that the group members will hold each other accountable throughout the trip, motivate, and cheer each other to climb to the top together. The result is togetherness and reinforced team cohesion.
Hiking helps you network and create unforgettable memories with others
When you get together in a hiking cohort, most likely, you might not know everyone in and out. And even if you are hiking with family members, there are certainly some parts of their lives you have no idea about.
A hiking trip could be the perfect place for you to create better bonds as such conversations may pop up. On the other hand, if the trip is with strangers, it’s a guarantee you will make a friend or two by the end of the journey creating memorable moments and connections.
As you are can see, yes – hiking is good for you, and its benefits cover your whole wild well-being. Not only do you become fit, but you also get a clearer mental state, a deeper experience of your soul, and even connect socially with people you are hiking with.
It’s an activity everyone should consider taking time to do since it provides you with one of the best ever experiences, in our opinion. Therefore, when you get a hiking invitation, go ahead and accept it, especially now that you know the benefits.