Health and adventure are words that you can equate to hiking. Hiking is an outdoor activity that entails walking through trails in a natural environment. This type of venture is suitable for people looking for a recreational activity that is convenient, inexpensive and does not require specialized gear unless hiking on mountains and challenging terrains.
If you intend to start your hiking adventure, it is essential to bring tools for navigation such as GPS, maps, or compass. You must also protect yourself from the elements with glasses, sunscreen, hats, and bring some spare warm clothing. It is also smart to bring a handheld torch, first-aid kit, matches, utility knife, and some food and water. Choosing a reliable and lightweight backpack for travel is also vital for your hiking adventure. This will ensure that you have your essentials without hindering your movements.
But what makes hiking so appealing? An article showed that first-time hikers and older participants were motivated to hike as they wanted to try something new and that they were propelled for exercise to improve their health. Therefore, here are the reasons why hiking is deemed to be healthy.
Good for the Heart
Various studies showed that walking reduced risks of cardiovascular attacks and of dying. A weekly total of 6 miles with a casual pace will already provide such benefit and walking longer distances with faster speeds will give even more significant advantages. Cardiac risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes are improved with regular walking.
Positive Mental State
Exploring nature leads to a boost in mood and lowers the risk of depression. A study showed that 90 minutes of exploring a natural environment decreases the activity in the region of the brain associated with depression. Nature also has a profound effect on a person’s mood by making it more positive, in the reduction of anxiety, and in improving working memory. Hence, hiking through nature provides an improvement to one’s mental state.
Develops Bone Density
Young people who regularly exercise can achieve maximum bone density and strength. Since walking is a weight-bearing activity, people who regularly engage in hiking can strengthen their bones and muscles. For those in the 30s, the age in a person’s life wherein bone mineral density naturally diminishes, regular hiking can help slow or even stop the process.
The natural terrain encountered when hiking will activate different muscles in your body. As you climb to your destination, your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves are being engaged and exercised. As you descend, your glutes and quads stabilize your knees and hips. Core muscles are also affected as you navigate through rough and uneven terrain. Building core strength also improves balance and stability to lessen the likelihood of stumbles. Furthermore, the use of poles and carrying a backpack during the hike involves upper body strength.
With all the benefits mentioned above, one can conclude that hiking is truly a gratifying and healthy activity. Hiking will not only engage your bones and the different muscles in your body, but it will also improve your mental state as you walk through nature. A state of accomplishment will also be experienced as you reach your destination and observe the improvement in your endurance. So start now and go for an adventurous hike!