Why is hiking so good for you?
Edward Abbey knew a thing or two about hiking when he said »Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread« because there are a number of clear and documented reasons as to why hiking is beneficial for our physical and mental health. The following can teach us all about leading a happier, healthier life.
It is well known that walking is beneficial for your health, but did you know that just one hour of treking can burn over 500 calories? On top of this hiking trails are often softer on joints than asphalt or concrete, so it’s easier on your ankles and knees compared to running. And when you head for the hills, weight loss results are even better because you’re not only burning serious calories, but altitude itself has also proven to be a weight loss ally.
In fact, hiking in the mountains is beneficial for your health in a vast number of areas on top of what has already been mentioned including:
- Improved cardio-respiratory fitness (heart, lungs, blood vessels);
- Lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Lower risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of high cholesterol and triglycerides
Raymond Inmon once said »If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk« and he definitely had a point. Hiking ultimately leads to increased attention spans and creative problem-solving skills, in some cases as much as 50 percent. Plus, researchers have found that walking gets the creative juices flowing far more than sitting.
Mental and Emotional Health
Whether it’s the fresh air, beautiful scenery or wonderful company while hiking, it has been proven that regulary mountain treks reduces depression while improving your positive state of mind. A leading British mental health charity suggests hiking contributes to improved mental and emotional health. The researchers found that hikers realized far greater benefits than those walking in malls for the same amount of time. In fact, it was found that:
- Hiking in the countryside reduces depression (71%), whereas walking in a shopping center increases depression (22%).
- 99% reported their self-esteem increased after the nature hike, while 44% reported decreased self-esteem after walking around the shopping center.
- 88% of people reported improved mood after hiking, while 44.5% reported feeling in a worse mood after the shopping-center walk.
So … good bye iPads, computers, tablets and TV because we’re going rogue! It’s time to get outside to eXplore how hiking can make us healthier, happier and full of adventure. What are you waiting for?