Walking out in nature reduces the boundary between the wilderness and you. Everything is up close and real. There are no restrictions, only nature.
Hiking is good not just for physical health but also for the spirit and mind. Just a short tour alone every week can give you multiple physical advantages.
Hiking is a great cardio exercise that results in an elevated heart rate and healthy metabolism. It reduces your risk of developing certain cancers, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even heart diseases. It is also a weight-loss workout that increases muscle mass and fights osteoporosis.
There are a lot of references out there that say hiking is healthy. There's hardly anything like a quick hike to have your heart pumping as a type of workout. It can help arthritis patients stay supple and flexible. Walking outdoors in the sunlight offers vitamin D to the system.
Hiking builds strength. And it's not only for your thighs or calves. Climbing over rough surfaces and making your way over tree roots, streams, fallen trees, and rocks train your upper and lower body for a complete cardio workout.
What Kind of Exercise Is Hiking?
Hiking may not be the only thing that comes to the brain when considering how to improve your fitness levels, and it is among the finest activities to give your muscles an all-around exercise. What kind of exercise is hiking? It's great cardio training that will improve your mindset, health, strength, and fitness.
1. Hiking Helps to Reduce Stress and Clears the Mind
Our lifestyles are more hectic than before. 9 to 5 office jobs, busy social schedules, and day-to-day living are enough to put us under constant stress. Hiking lowers your cortisol levels and blood pressure, providing a soothing impact that only a natural environment can provide and the advantages of a workout.
2. Hiking Makes Us Feel Better
Going out in the wilderness reduces what researchers term "depression," which are destructive thought processes that replay in our brains repeatedly, like lingering on disappointing, embarrassing experiences or obsessing about anything that is way off the mark in our lives. Never overlook the 'happy impact' of spending time outside.
3. Improves Your Sleep Schedule
Walking on uneven surfaces requires 29% more power and effort than walking or climbing on a flat surface. You will also be eliminating all of the modern age stressors that we commonly subject ourselves to during the morning just before night (smartphones, laptops, televisions, etc.).
4. Hiking Can Help You Sharpen Your Memory
According to research, individuals who spend more time in natural environments, whether trekking or hiking, have better recollection and memory. Therefore, if you're as bad at puzzles as I am, get your climbing shoes and join the track!
All forms of workouts are beneficial to our health. Working out your lungs and getting your heart rate up, whether on an exercise machine, a fixed cycling machine, or a rowing machine, helps you feel stronger and younger. Workout also benefits your mind since it increases oxygenation.
Although we frequently hear about artists or philosophers who find artistic ideas in natural settings, research is just now beginning to study the links between creativity and nature. A researcher examined young people before and after their hiking experience in the forest for four days. The volunteers acknowledged greater problem-solving and creative thinking after the trip.
Some researchers think that these gains for creativity come from how natural environments enable our focus to relax and our brains to travel in manners that might help us link diverse ideas floating about in our heads. Many argue that the unpredictability and spaciousness of natural scenery promote or encourage creativity. Being in the wilderness enhances creativity and imagination, which are linked to mental health, and creative people may want to spend a bit of extra time on a path.
5. Hiking Helps to Reduce Depression and Anxiety
It has been connected to the advantages of reducing stress by calming the brain and allowing you to focus on your respiration in a somewhat state of meditation. Go outside for natural anxiety treatment and a quick mood lift.
Workout, in general, may be an excellent anxiety buster. However, what differentiates hiking from other workouts is that this is done outside in a natural environment. Some workouts that require nature, such as kayaking or hiking, take commitment and more time than a simple trek and are thus less available to many individuals. Hiking may occur nearly anywhere, from a mountain trek to a public garden to a metropolitan park; it will provide the required therapeutic nature dose to keep you fresh and happy.
Its benefits have been thoroughly researched. As opposed to jogging in a park or on the road, hiking in natural places has been shown in research that helps us heal from "depression"—the mental exhaustion caused by working and living in a society where laptops and computers are a major headache.
6. Do You Have An Issue to Fix? Try Hiking
Studies say that the increased mental stress and data bombardment humans experience daily distract our minds, restricting problem-solving ability and reducing cognitive resources. Going out into a natural environment, far from such distractions, replenishes our exhausted focus systems, enabling more cognitive capabilities for creative thinking.
7. It Helps Us to Be Even More Compassionate
When we explore trails or tracks for the first moment or come upon an incredible stone of naturally occurring phenomena, we often come back home with a deeper respect for mother earth and its richness. This resulting boost in good emotions causes us to be more appreciative and kind to people.
8. Self-Care and Self-Treat
When you're locked up in the daily life routine, go for a hike, it offers a time to think, refuel, and restore yourself and your mind when you've been excessively overwhelmed. Taking a few days off and listening to yourself may often help you discover if you're tired or more frustrated than normal.
9. Hike With Your Friends
Hiking without a group or a member may be a rejuvenating and spiritual experience, but hiking and climbing with colleagues and communicating can help you create lasting memories and connect. Hiking with friends will keep you motivated to go on and help you adopt this healthy habit. This habit will freshen up your mind and body altogether, and you will get to explore nature together – you might catch some insta-worthy pictures!
10. Strengthens Your Bond With the Nature
Hiking also indirectly improves the environment by increasing our bond with nature. Having a healthy connection with nature can make us think about its future, which will make us more devoted to nature conservation. According to one research, since we have an emotional bond with the natural environment, we are more willing to wish to conserve it. It means that outdoor activities, such as hiking, may benefit both individuals and the environment.
It all suggests that hiking could be among the finest ways to work out. Rather than wasting the entire workday in front of a laptop, take out 30 minutes every day to go out for a walk or hike. You will notice changes in your relationships, creativity, mood, and a developing emotional relationship with nature.
It's better not to go for a hike alone initially, especially if the track is unknown or secluded. A companion or team can support you in navigating and if you are injured.
It's 2022, people! We are not just going to talk about achieving that zero figure for the compliments. We now prefer our physical and mental health over anything else, and it's high time to concentrate on our health and well-being. Our commitments reflect that fitness is more than weight training and cardio, and hiking is one of the best cardio exercises out there!
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