Did you know that hiking is good for keeping you healthy and can also change your life? Let’s find out how hiking can change your life right here.
Hiking is a great cardio workout and offers plenty of benefits, and can even change your life, provided you do it the right way, keep yourself safe and follow all safety measures.
Hiking is great for sharpening your mental focus and improving muscular fitness. Besides helping you get in shape, hiking can also help reduce anxiety and depression to live a better quality of life, emotionally, psychologically, and physically.
Through the years, we have spoken to professional hikers, doctors, and many others who swear by the benefits of hiking regularly. Here, we will find out the major benefits of hiking and how it can change your life for the better.
As for hiking and camping enthusiasts with many years of experience hiking trails, we are in the ideal position to provide you with all of the information you need regarding hiking and how hiking can change your life.
How Can Hiking Change Your Life?
When people think of ways to get in better shape, the most common answers are joining a gym, joining a fitness program, going for a run, etc. When you think about it, hiking, on the other hand, is free and provides all of the benefits of boosting your heart rate and burning calories while enabling you to "wander off the beaten path" anywhere you like. Hiking also allows everyone of any age to get out and appreciate the beautiful sights that our area affords; it helps us appreciate what is natural about the state we live in.
Anxiety, sadness, and other difficulties, such as binge eating or PTSD, can occur in people who ruminate or dwell too much on negative ideas about themselves. Researchers recently looked at how spending time in nature impacted rumination and discovered that hiking in nature reduces obsessive negative thoughts.
Researchers examined the rumination of participants who trekked in urban and natural settings in this study. They discovered that individuals who spend an hour in a natural environment, such as grassland, experienced less rumination and decreased brain activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, linked to mental illness.
These advantages were not available to anyone who traveled through a city. According to experts, our society is getting increasingly urbanized, and urbanization is connected to depression and other mental illnesses. Simply getting out of the city and spending time outside, where there are fewer distractions, are beneficial for our overall health.
If you're the person who overthinks and overanalyzes ordinary circumstances, you're undoubtedly stressed out, and your mind is overworked. Relaxation is one of the ways hiking decreases stress. Hiking may need physical exertion and strength, allowing you to form a profound bond with nature.
According to the American Public Health Association, being surrounded by trees or strolling by a river might help you relax and clear your thoughts. Any hiking trip can assist you in releasing any built tension, allowing you to concentrate on the beautiful scenery around you.
Helps You Disconnect
The sensation of escape, of being separated from the hectic hurly-burly of regular life, is what many people respond to when asked what they enjoy most about hiking. Turning off your brain's common thinking tendencies will allow you to reflect on more gratifying activities. When you go on a trek, leave your problems behind, and you will be pleasantly rewarded. When you need a vacation from schedules, family, troubles, mobile phones, social networking sites, and gossip, completely removing yourself from your monotonous routine may be an incredible winner.
As you continue trekking on a route, your endurance will improve. Because you've improved your muscles, you'll be able to start moving without pausing too much. You'll be grateful that your balance improves as your strength grows. You can also put weights on the footing and not worry about falling while descending steep sections of a route.
Your oxygen consumption will decrease as you climb to higher heights, and your breathing will adjust. Shortness of breath is common, although it will improve over time. When it comes to higher heights, be careful of altitude sickness and don't underestimate yourself. It's advisable to start at sea level and gradually increase your elevation rather than jumping right in.
Helps with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
It can be difficult for parents to raise children with ADHD. Nonetheless, there’s excellent news from the medical and scientific community regarding hiking and ADHD. Researchers discovered that exposing children with ADHD to "green outdoor activities" improved their ADHD symptoms. These findings were revealed in a study led by Dr. Kuo and Dr. Taylor. As a result, anyone with inattention or impulsivity may benefit from exposure to nature, according to this study.
Simple adjustments, including green activities or traveling to locations that are close to nature, according to doctors, can boost concentration. Increased exposure to greenery such as hiking, an afternoon excursion, or just playing ball in the park can all help to alleviate undesired ADHD symptoms.
It’s a Great Leg Exercise
This is likely to be one of the most noticeable bodily changes you'll see in only a few weeks. If your legs have more fat, they will be toned and converted to muscle in just a few weeks of hiking. That’s because you're using your muscles in your body with each step on an elevation, whether steep or slightly steep. Carrying a backpack will benefit your smaller muscles, such as your upper back and shoulders. As you move up an incline, your body will acclimate to the steady motion.
You don't have to be a hardcore adventurer to reap the benefits of hiking. Hiking may be considered a lengthier stroll in the woods, but you can hike at any speed, at any height, and for any number of miles, hours, or days. Every hike has its own benefits, no matter how difficult (or easy) the terrain is. For starters, a one-hour moderate trek may burn roughly 400 calories while also strengthening your core and lower body. The advantages of hiking increase as the height rises. The longer and more difficult the hike, the more calories and stress you'll burn.
Also, the best part is that you don't need much to get started. Unlike other outdoor hobbies that need a lot of gear and frequently involve travel and instruction, such as rock climbing, hiking has a low entrance barrier. Only two essential items are required: good footwear and a day bag. Use a trail app or a map to find a route near you, including GPS and elevation data. Just remember to save your route from the app in case you lose phone service, which frequently occurs in the woods.
And if you're already taking short walks on your local trails, it's time to take it to the next level with a daylong hike. Long-distance hikes introduce you to new territory and give you a sense of accomplishment. Fall is also an excellent time to start because there are fewer issues. Beautiful weather. Set out to reap the many advantages of hiking. After that, you may add hiking these beautiful National Parks to your fitness bucket list.
Most hikes entail ascending a large hill or even a mountain, then descending, which is a tremendous leg exercise and one of the most beneficial aspects of hiking. Climbing a mountain is similar to repeatedly doing lunges on the stairclimber, which develops your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
On the other hand, traveling downhill is what makes your legs weary and powerful. To avoid falling downhill, your quads and glutes must perform steady, controlled labor to support your knees and hips. Because you're gently lowering a weight at the gym, these contractions inflict the most damage to muscle fibers.
Eccentric contractions, like the ones you get when you slowly drop weight at the gym, do the most damage to muscle fibers because you're battling the force of gravity against weight, which is the weight of your body. This means that, while you won't huff and puff on the way down, your muscles won't get a chance to relax.
Anyone who has spent time on a path can relate to the well-being that comes with being outside. In addition to allowing you to enjoy the landscape and get some exercise, hiking may benefit your life in ways you may not have considered previously, and research is now beginning to uncover some intriguing links between hiking and your health.
The human body is around 250,000 years old. It developed to be the ideal vehicle for traversing nature, but we've spent the previous several hundred years remaining completely sheltered from the elements. While this is an excellent strategy for remaining warm and dry, it also makes it very simple for illness and degeneration to take hold.
Recent research found indications of telomere extension of up to 10% in persons who exercised outside. Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that influence the rate at which cells age. Therefore, the longer they are, the longer we live. Hiking is shown to help people live a healthy life and live longer compared to those who did not go on hiking or camping trips at all.
About THE AUTHOR
I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.Read More About Peter Brooks