As we become more technologically inclined, we may find ourselves glued to the things that help us function more efficiently. Some of these things include our desks, chairs, phones, computers or laptops, offices, and our schedules!
This type of lifestyle can take a toll on us physically and mentally. Depending on your circumstances, it may be difficult to take a break from what you do in real-time. There are many reasons you may find yourself unable to self-care as recommended. However, there are always ways to work around your schedule so that you can prioritize wellness.
One of the best ways to do this is through hiking. If you can incorporate a hike twice per week, you will still be able to hit those wellness goals. What if I told you that, taking some time away to reconnect with nature will improve your health and productivity at work.
What are the Benefits of Hiking?
From boosting fitness to improving mental wellbeing – and even helping us in our social lives, hiking offers measurable benefits. We thought that we’d break a few of these down in a handy list, so that next time you’re heading out into the wilderness on a long walk, you’ll not only feel fantastic – you’ll know why.
1. Improves blood pressure, and lowers the risk of heart disease
One of the great things about regularly engaging in a spot of good exercise is the fact that the benefits are all-encompassing. This is particularly true when it comes to blood pressure and how healthy our hearts are – and it’s not surprising to hear that the health benefits of hiking don’t just include weight loss and a boost in fitness: it’s a fantastic way to lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease as well as other serious conditions.
2. Improves overall fitness, and builds muscles
We all know just how important exercise is for our overall health. We’re constantly reminded how vital it is that we factor regular exercise into our daily and weekly routines, but for many of us, this can be tricky. One of the biggest benefits of hiking is that it actively contributes to our overall levels of fitness in a big way. The muscle groups stimulated during a good hike include quadriceps, hamstrings, and our lower leg and hip muscles – and hiking with a backpack is a great boost to core strength. Plus, walking is a weight-bearing exercise, so it helps to build bone density.
3. Helps you lose weight (sure to be one of the popular benefits of hiking!)
It’s not just our core fitness levels and muscles that receive a vital boost during a good walk – one of the other great health benefits of hiking is that it helps us lose weight. Lots and lots of weight. 4. Helps you lose weight (sure to be one of the popular benefits of hiking!)
If you weigh an average of 160lbs, and you went for a 3-hour hike, you could potentially burn upwards of 1200 calories – more than half of the recommended daily intake for an adult. Do this twice a week? You’ve effectively burned off 1-1.5 days’ worth of calories. Phew! It’s worth pointing out that the way we all think about weight and calorie intake and burn is deeply personal – everyone will have different goals, and it will be more important to some than others. There are also a lot of other factors to our weight profiles, particularly diet, but if weight loss is something you’re actively pursuing, hiking could be a fantastic addition to your routine.
3. Improves blood pressure, and lowers the risk of heart disease
One of the great things about regularly engaging in a spot of good exercise is the fact that the benefits are all-encompassing. This is particularly true when it comes to blood pressure and how healthy our hearts are – and it’s not surprising to hear that the health benefits of hiking don’t just include weight loss and a boost in fitness: it’s a fantastic way to lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease as well as other serious conditions. Research by the CDC has found that walking for an hour a day, five days a week can cut the risk of a person experiencing a stroke in half. The aerobic activity of walking also strengthens the heart, gives a fantastic boost to our HDL levels (“good cholesterol”), and lowers levels of LDL and triglyceride (the bad stuff). 4. Makes you more creative
So, let’s move on to the wide-ranging mental benefits of hiking. Hiking isn’t just great for the body; it’s also great for the mind – and soul. And this is one of the great things about this activity; there is so much more than just a single benefit of hiking. Engaging in regular hiking can even make us more creative. Forgive us if that seems like rather a wishy-washy statement, and bear with us, as there’s a fair amount of evidence to corroborate these claims.
5. Improves overall mental health
It’s hard to underestimate the psychological benefits of hiking. Simply getting out of the house, flat, or other indoor space you spend most of your time, and enjoying the tranquillity of nature and a refreshing fresh breeze can do wonders for the soul – and there’s plenty of evidence that hiking can actively improve our overall mental health.
Conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health difficulties.
The next time you feel like taking a break from everything, do it! Take a hike and realign yourself.