Hiking for Health

hikerAlthough regular exercise has been found to improve physical as well as mental health, study by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) found that only 15% of all American adults engage in sufficient physical activities. Perhaps this is because the thought of running around the field or sweating out in gyms seems unappealing and daunting to many people. But working out to improve your health need not be painful and boring. One way to burn those calories while nhancing your mental health is hiking.

Hiking is for all

Hiking is becoming more and more popular as an outdoor event in many countries around the world. This is due to the fact that hiking appeals to people from different walks of life. Unlike many other sports activities, hiking is much simpler as you don’t need a rigid training or special equipments to get you started. You only need to put on a pair of comfortable shoes and some necessary equipment and gears (and companion, if you want) and start walking into the woods.

The scenery, the fresh air, and the diverse nature of trails make hiking a heart-healthy workout/pastime for people of all fitness levels, ages, income brackets, and genders. Additionally, hiking doesn’t require you any special skills and expertise.

Physical health

Many studies have shown that hiking is a great way to improve health. Here are some of the physical health benefits of hiking: preventing heart disease, losing excess weight, decreasing high blood pressure or hypertension, preventing osteoporosis, slowing down the aging process, preventing and managing diabetes, relieving back pain, improving arthritis, and many more.

To achieve these health benefits, you need to walk for at least 30 minutes. This will burn off some calories and consistently keep your heart rate up. But 30 minutes won’t give you the result you desire unless you hike everyday. If you want to sweat out and build stamina, go on hiking for at least one hour. You can also try the go-up method. Here, you need to hike trails with elevation changes. In general, hiking on trails that incline slightly for a long distance will give you better results than hiking on trails with very steep inclines.

Mental health

Proclaiming the physical health benefits of hiking sounds a little obvious. Walking on your way to the mall or to your office is an obvious way of exercise. Thus, improving cardio health or losing unwanted weight is not only the point in hiking. What’s more, hiking also enhances your mental health. Your life can get hectic sometimes resulting in stress. You can consider hiking as a timeout from your very busy life.

With hiking, you can spend an hour or so together with Mother Nature, allowing you to have a peace of mind. Walking is your antidote to stress and the time you give yourself allows you to think without much interruption. Many psychologists state that having some time off from stressors such as e-mail messages, phone calls, and other people. Hikers will guarantee you that you’ll feel relaxed and have new perspectives on things.