7 Amazing And Uplifting Health Benefits Of Hiking
Is that even a question? Hiking is one of the most amazing things that man can do. It gives you a chance to get outdoors, breathe the clean and fresh air, and take a few moments away from the challenges of everyday life. The real deal is that there are so many health benefits of hiking that people are not even aware of. It may seem like just a recreational activity or something you can just do when you have some free time, but truthfully, hiking is actually good for your health. And today, we’re going to shed a light on some of those benefits.
1: Hiking Improves Cardiovascular Health
Hiking can help give you a healthier heart. Remember that the heart is a muscle too, and just like every muscle, it needs regular exercise to stay healthy and become stronger. Simply put, the more you stay active, the more the heart becomes efficient and the more oxygen, blood, and nutrients are pumped throughout your body.
The truth is that it isn’t directly walking or hiking that will strengthen the heart, rather the physical activity. This means that as long as you keep active and keep your heart pumping, your cardiovascular health will improve. But why stop at a treadmill or a stationary bike at the gym when you can enjoy the outdoors during a hike?
2: Hiking Improves Your Endurance
The more you hike, the stronger you get and the longer you can go. Just think of any athlete and how they train – daily. If it’s your first time hiking, you may feel exhausted or tired.
But you’ll notice that the more you do it and if you can do it regularly, it will start to get easier. That’s when you start increasing the length or the difficulty of the hike. Eventually, you would have gone from that beginning who lost their breath in the middle of the trail, to an all around hiking master!
3: Hiking Tones Your Whole Body
I’m sure it is pretty clear that when you walk, you give your lower body a workout. But if you start adding inclines and declines that you have to face, you start working more muscle groups than you would just walking on a flat surface. Climbing up inclines, for example, will give your quads, glutes, and calves more of a workout, while going downhill will activate more of your hamstrings. Add trekking poles to that and use your upper body to help pull you a long and you’ve got a full-body workout and cardio routine in one!
4: Hiking Can Help Prevent Or Control Diabetes
Diabetes happens when we eat to much sugar but do not use it. One of the main sources of energy for the body is glucose, which we get from sugar. If there is an excess of glucose in the bloodstream, the body will have a difficult time trying to regulate it, which is how diabetes will begin. Regular hiking lowers blood sugar levels because it gives your muscles a workout. It makes use of that glucose inside your bloodstream for energy, therefore, lowering your blood sugar.
5: Hiking May Add Years To Your Life
If you may have already read in my previous article about how long it takes to walk one mile, just getting in 2,000 steps per day can increase your life up to 7 years. This was a study done by Dr. Mercola and he talks about it here (http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/09/11/daily-walk-benefits.aspx). So simply walking is good for you. But why stop at walking around the city when you can walk around one of many of the scenic trails near you?
6: Hiking Helps You Loose Weight
Let’s not forget one of the favorite reasons or one of the very first reasons people get into physical activity in the first place – loosing weight. There have been studies that show that hiking can burn up to 370 calories per hour.
Of course, this depends on your height, your weight, and the amount of work you put in. But no matter what you do, you will burn some calories. One of the great things about hiking is that you won’t really feel like you’re doing an intense workout because you’re simply enjoying time with nature.
This makes it easier to do and to finish and to maybe even keep doing regularly.
7: Hiking Feeds The Soul
Going beyond just the physical benefits hiking gives your body, it can also help feed and heal your soul. There is research that shows that hiking can be used as an additional therapy for people with severe depression. I’m pretty sure it has to do with the fact that you are immersed in the beauty of nature and reminded just how valuable life is.Also interesting about that is that research also shows that hiking can increase creativity, attention-span, and problem-solving up to 50%. The reason for this being away from technology and spending time outside. Just think of the difference it feels when you are doing work cramped in your office table, compared to when you go outside to a park. Don’t you feel a difference already?