Hiking is fun, sure – and a great way to explore the beauty of the great outdoors; but did you know that its benefits go far beyond just physical activity?
Hiking is great way to enjoy the beauty and wonder of the outdoors. One of the main advantages of hiking is that it is an activity that is highly adaptable to many individual circumstances, such as fitness level, free time, monetary constraints, and length of travel desired.
In fact, this sport is one of the easiest physical pastimes to begin enjoying. Aside from providing a great source of physical activity and exercise, this fun hobby also has many hidden benefits that you will enjoy as you explore the hiking opportunities available in your locality.
Fight Stress With Each Hike
The modern world is demanding and nearly everyone must adhere to hectic work and family schedules. Taking time out to relax is important, and most people are already aware of the stress relieving properties of exercise.
Hiking not only provides the physical relief of other exercise options, but spending time outdoors and in nature has been shown to be a powerful stress and anxiety reliever. People who spend more time in outdoor green spaces exhibit lower levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, which translates into a happier, healthier and more relaxed state of mind. Hiking perfectly combines exercise with time in nature.
Improved Quality of Sleep
Sleep deprivation has almost become the norm in today’s society. Whether you’re kept awake from stress, a constant flow of emails or an inability to shut off the TV, computer or mobile device, you’re not alone.
Nearly 20 percent of Americans report getting 6 hours or less of sleep a night. Most people need, on average, about 6-7 hours of sleep nightly to be adequately rested. Hiking, along with the benefits of aiding relaxation and reducing anxiety, can also help people to achieve a higher quality of sleep.
Regular physical activity has been shown to improve sleep by over 50 percent in those who engage in a regular schedule of exercise. Thus, hiking can be an important part of getting a better night’s sleep.
Bonus Sleep Benefits of Camping
If you choose to take your hike to the next level and decide to spend an entire night in nature, or a few nights, you are helping your sleep cycle tremendously.
Most of us in the modern world have gotten so used to the artificial lights, noises and distractions of modern technology that our bodies have forgotten how and when it’s time to sleep. A night under the stars is a good way to reset that.
Your body will be in complete darkness at night and teach itself to wake up with the sun, as you’re meant to naturally. Just remember to not bring any electronic gadgets that you don’t absolutely need. Having a phone and GPS for emergencies is the only one I’d suggest, and only turn them on when you need them.
Hiking Helps to Build Stronger, Healthier Bones
Not only does hiking strengthen your muscles and increase flexibility, it also helps to build stronger bones. Exercise that is weight bearing, meaning that you are on your feet and supporting your entire body weight with your legs,causes new bone tissue to form.
Adding to your bone mass helps to avoid accidental breaks or fractures, reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and strengthens your entire body. Hiking is a low-impact weight bearing exercise, making it appropriate for nearly any age group or level of fitness.
Hiking – A Whole Body & Mind Workout
Hiking requires that you utilize every part of your body, improves your balance and coordination and helps to build overall core strength. It also stimulates your senses as you bask in the beauty of nature, improves your mental capabilities as you maintain your trail route and creates an increased awareness of your surroundings.
Hiking lets you take full control of your workout, because you can go as fast or slow as you want and can control the level of intensity you experience. Because of the adaptability of hiking, both beginners and seasoned fitness aficionados can benefit from and achieve a satisfying workout.
You don’t need any special equipment other than a sturdy pair of shoes, you don’t need to pay for a fitness club membership and you don’t have to deal with the anxiety of learning how to operate exercise machines.
Hiking is good for your body, mind and soul.