6 Health Benefits of Hiking
Hiking is an excellent way to increase and maintain overall fitness. It burns up to 500 calories an hour, depending on the incline of the trail and the weight of your pack. It aids with toning muscles and overall weight management. But the health benefits of hiking go beyond just that. Here are 6 other benefits of hitting the trails.
#1 Healthy Heart
Heart health is important, and hiking is a great way to support your cardiovascular system, especially if your route includes hilly terrain.
#2 Arthritis Prevention
Frequent hiking helps to increase bone density and could help prevent arthritis, just by doing what the body was meant to do. Hiking is a low-impact activity, and trails are typically softer on the joints than asphalt or concrete would be.
#3 Lowers Blood Pressure
Regular exercise helps to lower your blood pressure and is beneficial for people dealing with hypertension. Things like hiking can lower blood pressure by 4-10 points.
#4 Lowers Blood Sugar
Walking (or hiking, in this case), can lower the blood sugar and help prevent diabetes. For a person with Type I diabetes, it can also reduce the amount of insulin they need, while for a person with Type II diabetes might be able to even reverse the disease through a combination of diet, exercise, and weight loss. Hiking offers some of that exercise.
#5 Mood Stabilizer
Whether you struggle with anxiety or depression, or are just feeling down, hiking can help! It’s a well-known fact that exercise releases endorphins that can lift your mood and keep it lifted. Hiking also provides an outlet for adrenaline--the body’s response to real or perceived danger. Without use, it builds up in the body and can lead to feelings of anxiety. So, if you’re feeling anxious, hiking can help!
Whether to other people or to nature, in companionship or solitude, hiking offers a chance to connect. It can increase creativity, as well--disconnecting from the screens and immersing yourself in the natural world can give your brain a boost.
With these benefits, there’s no reason not to hike--so get out there and hit the trails!