For a pastime, that doesn’t require much. When you start hiking, you are taking part in more than just something, which is fun and relaxing.
You may see many people who have been out hiking, yet do you ever see one who is down in the dumps or regretted a full day in the great outdoors.
Nature does something very special to anyone spending time outdoors and making their way through what it has to offer at a moderate pace. It makes people feel renewed, refreshed, and content.
While mountain biking and trail running are often seen as sports medicine, when you head for the hills, you can gain as many physical benefits from hiking as you can mental.
It is more akin to beginner kayaking in the health benefits it offers, though this does cost you a little more to start.
Here we will look at the reasons why hiking is good, and what areas you gain the most health benefits of hiking.
In many sports or activities, it can be easy for doctors or medical professions to claim benefits, yet back in 2017, there was a study published that backed up the benefits of hiking.
Researchers who were affiliated to the University of Innsbruck ran this study to find the difference between walking and hiking. Participants took part in two sessions of three hours. An indoor treadmill was used to simulate a fast walking pace.
The second was a hike through the Austrian mountains for the same period. Both tests were conducted to simulate each other with inclines and simulated declines on the treadmill.
With results being taken during and after the three hours, the results were favorable for hiking over the benefits of walking. Heart rates were found to be six beats per minute higher from the hikers, which showed they tend to work harder on a hike.
These participants were asked how they felt afterward. Although they pushed themselves harder, they suffered from less fatigue and found to have a happier mood.
Research shows that hiking helps raise the mood once you get into the fresh air on local hiking trails rather than taking a walk of the same distance in an urban setting. Here are some reasons why hiking is a great way to add to your healthy living lifestyle without taking too much effort. (Read Kayaking Calories Burned)
Mental Health Benefits of Hiking
After looking at the evidence, here are the mental health benefits of hiking by the people who do it.
Clearing the Mind
We saw that walking in an urban environment doesn’t have the advantages of hiking out in the country.
Walking is still beneficial, yet hiking reduces the effects of the side of the brain, which brings about bad moods and a bleaker outlook.
Brain Boosting Hikes
Not only can hiking clear up mental issues, individuals who hike regularly receive a boost in brain productivity.
There is research that shows people who get back to nature and away from all the gadgets are up to 50% more mentally creative in tasks, which require problem-solving.
Hiking helps with memory retention in people who take regular hiking trips than people who don’t get outside as often.
A Clearer Outlook on Life
Because of the way life takes us, many often over-analyze their experiences and their emotions.
One of the great benefits of hiking is it can reduce the effects of over analyzation. When you hit the gym, you can spend an hour running on a treadmill, and this physical activity can improve your mental state.
Yet, when rivers, mountains, trees, and everything else which goes along with it, these are better at fighting common mental issues such as depression and stress.
It is these reasons why hiking can raise the mood and make all of us feel happier about our lives.
Physical Benefits of Hiking
Hiking isn’t just good for mental health fitness; it is great for more physical areas of the body. Here are the more physical benefits you can get from regular hiking tours.
Hiking Increases Fitness
Hiking may not appear to be too physical compared to other sports or pastimes. However, depending on the inclines and how much gear was on your backpacking checklist. It is possible to burn over 500 calories per hour.
Rather than sticking to flat trails and you make your way into the hills, then your weight loss can be higher. Even taking a regular hiking trip for a few hours is enough to help you lose weight.
Hiking Delivers a Whole Body Workout
You can quickly tone the entire body without too much effort when hiking. While the lower part of the body takes the majority of exercise, you still work the upper body when using hiking poles to propel you along.
Your backpack also has a bearing on your hiking health because it is like lifting weights yet for extended periods.
If you hit rough terrain or steep inclines, you will find how effective it is for weight management than sporadic workouts in a gym.
Heart Health and Diabetes
These are two areas where anyone can gain a health boost. Lungs and the heart are muscles just like any other. Anyone with diabetes can lower their blood sugar levels, which is a good thing.
While it might be hard to keep sugar levels at the ideal levels with hiking alone, it does mean you have another means of lowering the blood sugar without medication, and without too much effort.
Because of these regular hikes into the countryside, you can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol as well.
With all the muscles being used, the body will be taking glucose from the blood for prolonged energy, the further you go.
As a result of these, hikers can reduce their risk of heart disease as well.
You may think that it takes hiking high into the mountains and over rough terrain to drop blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Yet, hiking downhill is more effective at reducing blood sugar levels and building up a glucose tolerance.
Brisk hiking downhill may take less effort, but you can speed up your heartbeat, so it is in effect cardio exercises you are performing in something, which appears to be simple.
Healing by Hiking
Doctors are looking at hiking for being able to help in other areas aside from cardiovascular health. Cancer patients who head out into the wilderness show improvements of their condition.
Anti-oxidative capacity can be enhanced, and for sufferers from any of the above, or for regular individuals, this can be a great step in fending off illness and disease.
This is more evident in cancer patients as they have weakened immune systems from treatment.
Hiking is Social
Many individuals can be quiet, yet when hiking, it is advisable to either make sure someone knows where you are going in case of an accident.
It is a recommendation to go along with another person to be on the safe side.
This makes it a social event, and you can bond far easier when you are both in the same situation.
Add to this, another person or a hiking group can deliver that extra boost you need to keep going when you find yourself flagging.
There is much more to hiking than just the body and mind.
When you decide to take up hiking, there are some hiking tips you should consider. It isn’t a matter of getting out there, and you will gain all the benefits at once.
Here are a few of the top tips
Pick a Hike for Beginners
Many hikers try to take on too much early on. They pick hikes that are too long or too demanding.
Hikes under five miles in length are ideal to start, and from this, you can build up to ones that cover more distance.
Choose Beginners Hiking Gear
There can be a tendency to splash out on the best gear, yet there is no need to have the best hiking gear until you are sure it is for you.
One thing you do need is a decent pair of hiking pants because regular clothing can be too restrictive. Hiking shoes are the second thing you will need because these deliver comfort and most of all protection.
Knowing Where You are Going
You need to have some form of GPS device, or it is advisable to learn how to read a map and use a compass. These never suffer from lost signal or flat batteries.
Check the Weather
Be sure to always check the weather forecast for where you are going. This can be crucial if you head into the mountains where the weather can change quickly.
Hiking is full of benefits for everyone, and sharing the experience with others is a great way to get outside. All the above are available to everyone, and it is better to share and enjoy the experience with the rest of the family or friends.