Improve your physical and mental health
I believe hiking is one of the most enjoyable things you can do in our great outdoors. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a your’e a hiking newbie, hiking offers a heap of benefits to your physical and mental health. Hiking also helps you build confidence, develops your sense of adventure and accomplishment. Hiking is a great way to get in touch with nature, and yourself, all while getting exercise as you explore. The great news is, the benefits of hiking don’t stop there.
In this blog post, I’ll explore some of the many reasons why hiking is such a wonderful activity, and provide some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your next hiking adventure.
Mental health benefits of hiking
Hiking is not just beneficial for your physical health, but also for your mental health. I know from my own experience in life that spending time in nature helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Hiking really does help to improve your mood. Hiking can also be a form of meditation and therapy that allows you to clear your mind and focus on the present moment. Research has shown that spending time in nature can also improve your cognitive function and memory, and boost your creativity.
Physical benefits of hiking
Hiking is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise that can help improve your overall physical fitness. It can increase your heart rate, strengthen your muscles, and improve your endurance. Hiking can also help you burn calories and lose weight, especially if you’re carrying a heavy backpack or walking on steep inclines. Additionally, hiking can help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Hiking is a super way to lose excess kilos. Obesity is now an epidemic in Australia – that’s really bad! 64% of adults are overweight and more than 30% are considered obese. Our sedentary lives, stuck in offices, in front of computers, surfing this miserable internet is killing us. Move your body, burn off some calories, and lose weight.
Prevent heart disease
Each year there are approximately 55,000 heart attacks in Australia. That is 151 reported heart attacks a day, or one heart attack every 10 minutes. From the ABS National Health Survey, more than 380,000 Australians have had a heart attack.
Over 2000 Australians die every day from cardiovascular diseases. While you’ve read this far, someone died and by the time you read this entire post 5 more will be dead. A regular walking routine greatly reduces your chances of heart problems. Study after study after study show that regular, light exercise increases your odds immensely.
Hiking and walking increase the HDL good cholesterol which helps get rid of the bad cholesterol. This in turn reduces your chances of heart problems.
Lower blood pressure
Going on a short hike of 30 minutes every other day is all it takes. Lower blood pressure means better overall health.
Reduce stress and depression
Your body’s natural drugs like endorphins and adrenaline are released when hiking and these chemicals have a natural positive effect on your stress levels.
As you age, you do not need to experience a decline in physical activity. By staying active, your muscles stay strong. As you get older, your body will weaken, but regular hiking helps minimize that.
Hiking helps increase bone density and strength, helping prevent the calcium loss and chance of broken bones from this disease.
Hiking to church, the store, school, or a local restaurant reduces the pollution from your car which makes the air better for everyone.
Hiking can reduce the amount of insulin a Type I diabetic. A Type II diabetic can reverse the course of the diabetes with exercise, diet, and weight loss.
A regular exercise program can benefit most people that have been diagnosed with and treated for arthritis. Walking may be the best exercise as it strengthens muscles and improves support.
Relief from back pain
Sitting at a computer or desk too long can cause back pain. People that walk commonly report significant decreases in back pain. Hiking puts much less stress on your body than running or aerobics and helps build core body strength.
All body exercise
Hiking is an aerobic exercise that improves overall physical fitness, using leg muscles, core body muscles, and lungs. You set the pace and length that is a comfortable challenge for your body.
Hikers explore natural settings that can only be reached on foot, leaving the hectic urban life and pollution behind for awhile.
As more advanced hikes are completed, a hiker understands that he is capable of even larger feats. Making your way through foul weather or rugged terrain builds your confidence in what you can do.
Basis of much more
By mastering hiking skills, you expand your horizons to mountaineering, backpacking, rock climbing and other outdoor wilderness activities.
Year round activity
You can continue to hike any time of the year. It is a great activity that can be done in all seasons so a single hiking tour can have many different looks as the seasons change.
Escape and refreshment
The psychological effects of spending time in natural surroundings is positive and strong. Time spent on the trail will renew you for better performance in your job and life back in the real world.
Tips for Hiking
- Plan your route: Before heading out on a hike, make sure you know where you’re going and how long it will take to get there. Bring a map or use a GPS device to help you navigate the trail.
- Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that is appropriate for the weather conditions. Dress in layers so that you can adjust your clothing as needed.
- Wear appropriate footwear: Wear sturdy, comfortable hiking boots or shoes that provide good traction and support for your feet and ankles.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks: Stay hydrated and energized by bringing plenty of water and snacks like trail mix, fruit, or energy bars.
- Pack a first aid kit: Be prepared for minor injuries by packing a first aid kit with items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
- Leave No Trace: Help preserve the natural environment by leaving no trace of your visit. Pack out all your trash and follow established trail etiquette.
Hiking is an excellent way to improve your physical and mental health, as well as explore the great outdoors. By following these tips and preparing adequately, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable hiking experience. So why not grab a pair of hiking boots and hit the trails today? After reading all this, I hope you agree there is no reason not to give hiking, running or walking a go So grab your mates and get out there.