For most people in today’s world, it is a well-known fact that a healthy lifestyle is important. It’s important for many reasons, whether it’s to look good, feel good, improve your mood, increase your mobility, or all of the above. Going to the gym and having a healthy diet are two of the most common ways of doing that in today’s busy world.
But let’s face it, hitting the gym 3, 4, or even 5 times a week can get a little daunting at times. With the crowds, the money, and the time it takes it’s any wonder if you’ll ever really enjoy it at all after a while. A healthy diet is definitely a benefit in every ones lives, we can all agree on that of course. Avoiding unhealthy choices like processed and fast foods are the perfect way to start.
If there is one way to start feeling better before and after your workouts, both mentally and physically, stick with whole foods and meats that are raised clean and happy. Pairing nicely with a healthy diet is good physical exercise, which is why hiking is good for your health. The benefits will greatly improve you both physically and mentally.
Less known major health benefits of hiking
Research has proven that exposure to nature can help reduce tension and depression while increasing self-esteem and happiness.
In 2007, a study in the UK compared depression levels of inflicted people who went for walks in malls and those that walked in natural settings. They found that 71 percent of those that walked in natural settings reported decrease levels of depression, compared to only 45 percent of those that walked in malls, with 22 percent having increased depression levels when walking in malls.
The same research showed that 90 percent had increased self-esteem and 71 percent were less tense when walking in natural settings. Compared to 45 percent and 50 percent respectively when walking in malls.
Needless to say, there have been countless studies done worldwide that prove exercise in nature improves mental well-being and states of mind. An excellent way to benefit from that physically and mentally is to enjoy the splendors of nature with a good pair of boots and a trail.
Known major health benefits of hiking
Along with the many mental positives of hiking, there are even more physical benefits. Meandering up a tree covered trail along a mountain side to an apex with a stunning view can and will do wonders.
Such as improving cardio respiratory fitness, thus increasing blood flow throughout the body and reducing your risk of strokes and heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Which in turn can help reduce high cholesterol and weight, by burning off on average about 250 calories per hour.
One of the other beautiful things about hiking (not just the views) is that it’s relatively simple to adjust to any fitness level. Whether it’s in a park setting in the city, or a goat trail in the alpine, there is always a beautiful place to go for a walk.
Improve yourself with an elevation increase
It’s no secret that hiking is a good way to improve your fitness. Hiking on inclines will do wonders for your quads, hamstrings, and glutes if done on a regular basis, at least twice a week for an hour or more.
Whole body workouts are performed with a combination of poles, backpacks, and steeper terrains. In addition to the grand vistas and greater senses of accomplishments, you’ll improve your bone density and sleep quality, as well as risk reduction of many other ailments and diseases.
So bring some proper nourishment and plenty of fluids, hit those trails and feel the burn. Without a doubt if you plan to go hiking than you plan to increase your fitness level and improve your muscle tone
Studies have shown that spending time outdoors leads to improvements with problem solving skills and attention spans by as much as 50 percent. Attention restoration theory asserts that after being exposed to nature people are able to concentrate better, and psychologist have found that after spending up to four days in nature those tested scored much higher on creativity tests than those that only took the test in the lab.
Most researchers agree that unplugging from tech is beneficial and there are measurable effects to problem solving by interacting with nature. In the modern technological environment the effects on the prefrontal cortex of the brain are being exhausted by constant demand.
Exposing your mind and body to the wonders of nature no doubt has the greatest potential to improve your health, so all the more reason to head out on the trail and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
At the top of it all
Just the thought of strapping on some boots putting a backpack over my shoulder and mapping out my route through the forest gives me joy. Just that joy alone starts to ready my body mentally and physically for a fulfilling adventure in nature. One that helps build muscle, strengthen bone, improves my respiratory system, relieves tension and stress, and helps me to think better.
The list grows longer for several other physical and mental conditions that are benefited from hiking. Some would say it has the ability to heal illness, either mild or serious. Not only does it help improve your balance, strengthen your core, and help control weight, but some would say it even helps cure cancer.
So if your looking to improve your life, might I suggest starting with a hike. It costs nothing but time and can be, and is so positive to so many aspects of your life, even the thought of it can bring joy and wonder. That’s time well spent, so don’t forget your camera, having and sharing those moments can add to a much needed release from the stresses of our world today.
Remember to always be prepared, bring plenty of fluids, food and clothes for those longer treks. Planning your route and letting people know where you’ll be is your safest bet, and have fun.
So put your best boots on and find your path!