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6 Health Benefits of Hiking

 

Health Benefits of Hiking

 

For sports, adventure, and outdoor enthusiasts, hiking is a fun activity that comes with a lot of added benefits. Other than challenging your limits and experiencing a variety of landscapes and wildlife, hiking also has many physical and mental health benefits that make it an activity that should be done as often as possible.

  • Heart: Hiking is an aerobic exercise, which means that like any good cardio, it makes your heart work and pump oxygenated blood to your muscles. Hiking and other aerobic exercises raise the heart rate and breathing in a manner that the body can sustain over the period of the entire session. Aerobic exercises help our body become stronger and reduce the onset of many diseases like cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, and cancers. By making the heart work, regular hiking can help in reducing blood pressure as well.
  • Bones: Hiking is a weight bearing exercise from which bones greatly benefit, as bones are a living tissue. Hiking exercises your bones by putting a strain on them, which makes them grow stronger. When muscles tug and push against the bone during physical activity, both become sturdier.
  • Builds strength in leg muscles: Hiking is a great overall leg workout that targets all of the muscles and helps them become strong and grow. Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, lower leg, and hip muscles are all worked when hiking.
  • Core: Hiking strengthens the core muscles of the body, which comprises of the abs, sides, back, the muscles above the ribs and chest, and the shoulders. Core muscles are always engaged in our movements, and act as stabilizers of the movement’s force, or initiators of any new effort. Hiking makes the core muscles of the body participate in different movements for a long stretch of time, helping them gain strength and flexibility.
  • Improve balance: Hiking is a great way to improve balance, especially for those who are aging, as balance tends to reduce with age. By engaging the lower body through a rigorous hike, both the body and the mind work together as they try to figure out the right places to step on, and the dangerous spots to avoid.
  • Release stress, anxiety, and depression: Research has shown that hiking boosts the mood and combats symptoms of stress and anxiety. Any type of exercise lowers stress levels and releases endorphins that make the body feel good. However, when exercise is combined with being in nature, its effects are doubled and it can help people feel more connected and uplifted.

 

Along with these, some other health benefits of regular hiking include:

  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Weight control
  • Lesser risk of high cholesterol
  • Lower risk of colon and breast cancer
  • Healthy functioning of the lungs
  • Better quality of sleep

Furthermore, hiking is not just limited to these physical and mental benefits, but hiking also comes with a full spectrum of sensory experiences giving a variety of stimuli to the eyes, ears, skin, and nose. With the changing landscape, varying temperatures, and a variety of smells and sounds, this activity can also act as a facilitator of human creativity and imagination.


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