What are the Health Benefits of Hiking?
* Health benefits of Hiking:
The health benefits of hiking are mentioned below:
- Lower stress level, improve mood and enhanced mental wellbeing.
- A reduced the risk of heart disease.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Lower cholesterol level.
- Improved control over healthy weight.
- Lower body fat.
- Improved bone density.
- Improved osteoarthritis outcomes.
- Increase in flexibility and coordination.
- A better quality of life.
- Enhanced relationships with friends and family members.
* Physical benefits of hiking:
I’m going to start off by sharing some of the benefits of hiking to your physical health.
1- Hiking is good for health:
Hiking is great for cardiovascular health. Even light hiking can raise the heart rate to a moderate level which helps improve aerobic fitness and endurance.
2- Hiking improves balance:
I’ll start by sharing that balance hasn’t always been my strong suit, and crossing streams and boulder fields can give me anxiety. That’s one reason I love hiking with trekking poles.
3- Hiking Helps Build Muscles:
As we touched on above, one benefits of hiking is it helps build stabilizing muscles in the legs and core to improve balance. But hiking also strengthens other muscles of the body including the arms and back.
4- Hiking can increase bone density:
Bone density refers to the amount of bone mineral in your bones. High bone density is important for preventing broken bones and reducing risk for osteoporosis.
5- Hiking helps with weight loss:
While this might not be everyone’s goal, if you do want to lose weight, hiking is a great way to do it. I lost nearly 40 pounds hiking and had a blast doing it (ok it wasn’t all fun, but it was worlds better than the gym).
* Mental and Emotional benefits:
1- Hiking eases stress and boosts mental wellbeing:
There’s a lot of research supporting the notion that connecting with nature improves mental health and wellbeing. Whether we are taking in the spectacular glow of a sunset or gazing out at a field of wildflowers, these brief experiences of feeling “wowed” by nature can make us feel happy and less stressed.
Forest bathing is a good example.
2- Hiking allows us to unplug from technology:
To expand on the previous point….We’ve become more reliant on technology than ever, and I don’t know about you, but in recent months my screen time has been at an all-time high.
Turning off your phone and going for a hike is an opportunity to live in the present moment and disconnect from the pressures that we often feel when we are scrolling.
3- Hiking can improve your self-esteem:
A 2010 study found that even 5 minutes of outdoor exercise can lead to you feeling more confident. So imagine how you’ll feel after a day on the trail. Hiking can lead you to feel stronger, more capable, independent, and ready to take on whatever the world throws at you.
4- Hiking can relieve insomnia and improves sleep:
Research has shown that regular exercise can help relieve insomnia and improve sleep patterns. While scientists aren’t quite sure how or why exercise does this, it may have to do with its ability to stabilize your mood and decompress the mind so that the body and mind are able to relax.
So if you need another reason to start hiking, getting a good night’s sleep is a perfect excuse.
5- Hiking improves memory and brain function:
When you hike, blood flows to the brain, carrying with it oxygen and important nutrients. Studies have shown that this increased blood flow improves connections between neurons in the parts of the brain that are in charge of memory and cognitive function.
6- Hiking builds community:
Hiking is a great way to build community. Not only can it forge new friendships, but group activities provide social support and can offset feelings of doubt, worry, or fear.
If you’re craving more community in your life, giving hiking a try. It’s a great way to meet new friends and like-minded people.