Hiking is more than just a way to hit your daily step goal. It’s actually a killer workout with both physical and mental benefits.
If you’re considering trading your regular neighborhood stroll for a trek along trails, here are some of the benefits of hiking you can expect to experience.
The Benefits for your Mental Health
Effects on your spirit may appear self-evident, considering how you feel, but simply being surrounded by nature will make you feel good. The University of Chiba in Japan carried out a study that proved that people who spent time in the open air were more relaxed and happy. They were able to demonstrate that when participants in this study were in a forest, their stress indicators dropped (slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and cortisol rates). Combined with better oxygenation of the brain, all of this increases your well-being.
The brain is stimulated by the wide open spaces, the beauty of the landscape… And if you take the opportunity to switch off your phone, it will be even better… Researchers from the Universities of Kansas and Utah even discovered that after spending several days in nature without a mobile phone, creativity increased by 50%, as did the ability to find creative solutions to a problem.
The Benefits for Your Body
- An endurance activity that adapts to everyone’s ability, unlike more intense sports, plays a role in the general improvement of the immune system. This is in part thanks to the molecules secreted by the plants and trees: phytoncides.
- It can be enjoyed for long periods, without overdoing it, it does not exhaust the body too much. However, it is a comprehensive form of exercise, with extra focus on the lower body, but doesn’t strain the joints. It is a great sport to maintain muscle tone.
- Hiking regularly reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol, improving the health of your arteries and reducing your arterial pressure.
- It also prevents osteoporosis thanks to its effect on the bones and joints. Bone density will increase therefore reducing the risk of fractures. Think about using poles to take pressure off knees and help you with climbs and descents.
- You will also stock up on vitamin D! Ensure you avoid sunburn with our article which provides advice on protecting yourself from mountain sunshine.
As with all sports activities, it must be practiced regularly in order to enjoy all the benefits of hiking. Waking three times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes is ideal. If you stop hiking, you will lose the benefits after three to six months. Now that you have no more excuses, easily take up hiking again with our article which helps you choose your route and warm up to fully enjoy great days out.