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Hiking Your Way to Health

Hiking Your Way to Health: Fitness for Body & Mind

Fitness isn’t a one-size fits all system with a treasure map to follow for perfect results. There are so many ways to get a good workout and one of the most enjoyable I’ve experienced is hiking.

If you love the great outdoors, open spaces, trees, nature, and solitude, hiking may be your perfect workout. Although hiking is good for the body, it’s also good for the mind.

In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they compared the effects of walking in an urban environment versus hiking in nature and found that hiking in nature is a challenging workout that actually calms the mind.

According to Martin Niedermeier, Ph.D., being in naturally green environments seems to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. He says, “the visual stimuli in nature serves as so-called soft fascinations, which might result in lower perceived stress and fatigue.” He goes on to add that it’s important because “people tend to stick to forms of physical activity they enjoy.”

Benefits of Hiking

There are several very special benefits of hiking that are more important today than ever before.

  • Hiking offers us a chance to completely unplug from our electronic devices and find peace.
  • There are no age requirements. Young or old, hiking is beneficial for both body and mind.
  • The health benefits include lowering blood pressure, boosting bone density, lowering blood sugar levels, weight management, strengthens the core, and boosts mood, among other things.

Hiking Safety Tips

There are so many benefits of getting outside for a hike, but you want to be sure to do it safely, especially if you’re heading to a new trail. Experts say that it’s important to learn the area and familiarize yourself with different trails.

Also, it’s a good idea to have a hiking partner. That way if anything unexpected does happen, you’ll have a better chance of getting assistance. Another important safety tip is to remember is the importance of having the right supplies. You’ll want to have plenty of water, dress appropriately, and be sure to check weather reports.

How to Get Started

If hiking sound like the perfect way to give your workout a jumpstart we’ve got great news! You can start anytime, and it doesn’t cost a thing. Hiking experts suggest starting small. Hike a nearby park to take inventory of your stamina and gradually move on to hills and rougher terrain a bit at a time. This will ensure you get a great workout without injury. As long as you have the proper shoes, enough water, a hat, and layer your clothing, you should be good to go.

There really is nothing like getting outside to enjoy the beauty of nature. Turn off the phone, listen to the birds, and enjoy all the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. If you haven’t been hiking yet, I can promise you one thing. You won’t regret it.


REFERENCES

https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/112/28/8567.full.pdf
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177719
https://www.outsideonline.com/2238741/most-underrated-endurance-workout-hiking
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e04c/6611def35dbbe3e326c167fc99aae47c552b.pdf
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1559827616658229
https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-nature-mental-health-20150629-story.html
https://news.stanford.edu/2015/06/30/hiking-mental-health-063015/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4453623/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/health-benefits-of-hiking-raise-your-heart-rate-and-your-mood-2016092810414


Maria Pease 

Health & Wellness Writer Bio

Maria Pease is a freelance health & wellness content writer based in Southport, North Carolina. She has written about health & wellness for more than twenty-five years and has partnered with a variety of companies doing the most amazing work. She loves being able to write about health topics that can change lives for the better.