The Amazing Benefits of Hiking

Physical, Mental and Social 

Family sitting looking over a mountain range

Hiking is the perfect activity to introduce yourself to the great outdoors. However, exploring the wilderness by hiking through it delivers loads of health benefits that go beyond just the physical to benefit you emotionally and mentally as well.

Hiking Is Free: Anywhere you live, you can readily find a wilderness area to hiking without having to shell out hard-earned dollars. National parks do require entry fees, but there are many more choices that don’t have any fees.
Minimal Gear Required: You don’t need much gear to start moving unless you’re planning on heading out into challenging terrain or hiking through severe weather for extended periods.
Hiking Is An Excellent Family Activity: Families that hike together report increased closeness. Children get the chance to explore nature and have an adventure. 
Hiking Promotes Unplugging: Hiking is a direct way to unplug. When regularly scheduled, you will not only get fresh exercise. You’ll also get a new perspective because you are free of your device.
Hiking Can Be A Solo Exercise: Solo trips can be contemplative and renew a sense of self.
There Is A Trail For Every Level Of Fitness: Start by exploring your local city parks. Over time, you can up the level of difficulty by heading to the more challenging terrain, and by increasing the weight of your pack.

The Mental Benefits of Hiking  

Person standing on mountain top

Improvements In Sense Of Mental Wellbeing: The benefits of living closer to nature are well documented. Patients suffering from anxiety and depression report fewer symptoms when they adhere to eco-therapy recommendations.
Creativity Booster: If you are engaged in a big project and have run out of ideas, head out for a hike and let the answers come to you. 
Stress Relief: Just a few minutes into a hike, the unwinding starts, and the healing begins.
Mood Enhancer: Not only will you feel happier and more content once you’ve hiked, but those effects will also carry forward into the days ahead. 
Hiking For Memory Improvement And Protection From Alzheimer’s: Regular hikes are linked to better memory retention and may help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s. 
Dramatic Improvement Of Sleep Quality: Rumination is strongly linked to poor quality of sleep, and hiking helps slow this negative process down. 

The Physical Benefits of Hiking

It Builds Leg Strength: While hiking on flat terrain can offer numerous benefits of boosting your endurance, the benefits get amplified when you begin hiking on steeper terrain.
Activate Your Core: No matter if you fully realize it or not, every time you go hiking and take a step on the trail, you will be actively engaging your core muscles throughout your midsection. 
Improve Your Cardio Fitness Levels: Hiking can improve your cardio fitness including your lungs just like any other kind of cardiovascular workout.
Stabilizes Joints and Improves Balance: Hiking on terrain that isn’t even is one of the best ways to stabilize all of the joints found in your lower body. By activating them much more regularly, you will be able to maximize their strength which can improve your balance and help you build up strength to prevent joint-related injuries.
Control Your Weight: Hiking is a great workout. As such, it is a good option for controlling your weight. It can burn a lot of calories in a short period of time.
Hiking Can Provide Challenging Natural Movements: When you are hiking, you are going to be doing constant lunges, squats, and jumps. However, you are usually going to be doing these things while weighed down by a heavy backpack which can force your body to engage all muscles to keep you from falling over.
Improves Your Blood Pressure: One of the best things that you get from hiking is having something that can benefit your general health and wellness. After all, hiking can play a crucial role in helping reduce your blood pressure and keeping your heart healthy. 
Helps Type 2 Diabetes Sufferers: Taking part in any type of physical activity at least once a week and a form of dynamic physical activity, such as hiking, once a week can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Decreases The Risk Of Breast And Colon Cancer: Some studies out there even show that the activity can decrease the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer. There is also some evidence to suggest it may also reduce the development of endometrial and lung cancer.

Healing Effects 

Some evidence to show that the activity can help to heal the body and aid recovery from serious medical conditions, including cancer.

Improve Lung Health: Breathing fresh air is essential for healthy lungs. It can also boost the health of your mind and body.
Back Pain Relief: Developing your core muscles is one of the most effective ways to alleviate back pain.
Boost Bone Density: Physical activities, including walking and hiking, are essential to healthy bone formation. Such activities also help to strengthen the muscles that support all the bones in the human body.
Get Your Daily Vitamin D Requirements Met: You are certain to get exposed to lots of sunlight while hiking, which will enable your body to naturally make all the vitamin D it needs.

Social Benefits of Hiking 

Because hiking is so accessible to everyone, there are all kinds of people that you can meet in varying social groups. If you are looking to bond with your friends or family, there is arguably no better way than to take a hike with them. 

How To Kick-start A Hiking Fitness Routine 

Person jumping from rock to rock

The fact is, you don’t need expensive equipment to get started. All you really need is a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers and a backpack. Having these things will allow you to set off and enjoy the benefits of hiking.

Hydration: While you are hiking on the trail, you will want to have the appropriate amount of water with you.
Become Familiar With The Terrain: Hiking on natural surfaces is always going to present its own set of unique challenges. After all, you will have a lot of uneven surfaces and a lot of instability. As a result, you want to get the proper footwear in order to combat this. 
Prep For Weather: Temperature and weather conditions can vary considerably when you are hiking. Because of this, you want to prep for the weather conditions you might be faced with by bringing additional layers with you.
Follow Proper Etiquette: You want to familiarize yourself with the different things that you should know as a hiker. You want to adhere to the Leave No Trace Seven Principles prior to hitting the trails.

Take A Hike

Anyone can take a hike in a National park. These parks are open to everyone. There are over 400 different national parks that you can explore. Each of these parks presents its own unique atmosphere that you can enjoy.

Simply grab your favorite hiking boots and get yourself a walking stick. The benefits that hiking can offer are right there waiting for you to take advantage of. All you need to do is jump in and get started now.

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