Why Weekend Hiking Is Great For Your Health
Ready to start hiking? Learn the benefits now!
Hiking is an excellent outdoor activity you can do to bump up your weekend warrior activities. Hiking exercises your body and breaks the monotony of being stuck indoors. Besides, hiking makes you feel more grounded, less stressed, and happier. You develop an overall sense of well-being and accomplishment. Here are some unique benefits of weekend hiking.
Why Go Hiking?
As per the WHO’s Physical Activity Guidelines, an individual should meet the following exercise guidelines:
-Children and adolescents between 6 to 17 years need 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
-Adults, including healthy older adults aged 65 years and older, need 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity, physical activity every week.
Studies also indicate that being active, even for a short time, is highly beneficial to your physical and mental well-being.
Hiking could be exactly the activity you need. It’s a great activity to feed your body and mind with energy and make you feel whole.
Hiking is an outdoor activity of moderate difficulty that involves walking across long distances, preferably in natural environments like mountainous or scenic terrain.
Hiking is an excellent activity for the weekends, as it takes you outdoors and in nature while providing the exercise you need to stay physically healthy. Even if you’ve never hiked before, you can start with baby steps, or say flat trails, and then work your way up to full-fledged, rough terrains. Once you start hiking, you’ll begin to see the benefits of your efforts. Moreover, hiking is a cost-effective activity you can do alone or with others.
However, before venturing on your weekend hikes, ensure you prepare a checklist containing all vital necessities, such as hiking gear, a first-aid kit, and snacks. Or, you can avoid the trouble of buying individual items by getting a hiking subscription box. This box contains a mix of outdoor gear, apparel, emergency tools, and first-aid items, ensuring peace of mind.
Here, you’ll find the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of hiking.
Physical Benefits of Hiking
Hiking involves participating in physical activity while spending time in nature, restoring mental and emotional health, and enjoying time with friends. The physical benefits of hiking can be immediate, including decreased blood pressure and stress levels, optimized immune system functioning, and restored attention. Over time, the benefits can also transpire, including weight loss, reduced depression, and overall wellness.
Heart health: Hiking is an effective way to boost heart rate, which improves cardiovascular health. By raising your heart rate, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease by significantly reducing hypertension, improving glucose tolerance, and decreasing “bad” cholesterol levels over time.
Improves balance: Hiking improves proprioception, the body’s ability to sense its position and movement in relation to its surroundings, allowing you to balance and walk freely without worrying about the environment. Traversing the rocky, root-filled paths during hiking can also contribute to good balance, or you can use a hiking stick to help improve your balance.
Muscle growth: Exercise, such as hiking, is excellent for almost every major muscle group in the body, including legs, arms, back, and core. Going downhill puts more pressure on your ankles, hips, and core while trekking uphill requires the use of glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. If you use a hiking stick, you’ll work out your arms and back.
Better bone density: High impact and weight-bearing activities, such as hiking can help increase bone density by strengthening the bone tissue.
Promotes weight loss: Hiking, like any exercise, causes weight loss if paired with the right diet. Hiking in the mountains can burn more calories than walking or running on a treadmill. Moreover, you can consider carrying more weight during hiking to make it more challenging and improve calorie burning.
Hiking is an excellent way of improving your physical health while enjoying the benefits of being in nature.
In addition, hiking is beneficial to your mental and emotional well-being because it allows you to break away from your monotonous routine, allowing you to de-stress and relax.
Mental & Emotional Benefits of Hiking
While hiking promotes physical health, it enhances your overall mental and emotional well-being. The combination of exercise and nature offers many mental and emotional benefits for hikers.
Reduces stress and improves overall well-being: A study indicates that nature’s healing benefits are delivered by a full range of senses, including hearing, sight, touch, taste, and scent. Furthermore, spending time in nature gives you a decreased sense of self-importance in relation to something greater and more powerful.
Takes you away from technology: Technology is addictive and disruptive, so it’s vital to break away from it once in a while and spend time close to nature. Hiking is the perfect way to get away from the buzz of urban noise and electronics. In addition, reconnecting with nature can improve your creative problem-solving abilities.
Boosts self-esteem: According to a study, even five minutes of exercise like hiking in nature can deliver psychological and physical benefits. Besides, hiking can improve your self-esteem and lead to an overall improvement in mood and sense of well-being.
Relieves insomnia and promotes better sleep: Studies show that exercise has the ability to decompress your mind and stabilize your mood, providing relaxation. When this happens, you’re able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.
Improves memory and brain function: Cardiovascular exercises like hiking can boost blood circulation to the brain, thereby boosting memory and brain function.
Builds community: Hiking is an excellent way to connect with friends and new acquaintances, thus building a social support network and cherishing moments.
Decrease negative thoughts: Hiking is a great way to enjoy an instant feeling of peace and contentment while alleviating negative, obsessive thoughts.
A well-proven fact, hiking is an excellent way to restore physical, mental, and emotional health. If you’ve been thinking about getting your hiking going, now is the best time to start. So, get out those hiking shoes today and start enjoying your weekends.