Written By Meredith Davis / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Hiking is more than just something you do during the weekends. For avid hikers, this activity allows them to commune with nature, which is therapeutic. This is called ecotherapy or nature therapy. If you are unconvinced, we have listed the eight reasons hiking is good for the body and mind.
1. Hiking reduces stress
The world feels like it’s moving faster, and there’s more going on now than ever before. All of this hustle and bustle in our everyday lives can be overwhelming at times, but we often have to hold back ourselves to deal with it. In these cases, you need to take a proactive approach to your stress management. If you don’t, you might find your stress levels higher than they should be and negatively affect your life.
Hiking is one way to reduce your stress. Hiking helps you get away from everything. At the same time, you’re moving your body around, which allows you to focus on your body and where you’re headed only and not have anything else bothering you.
It’s a great form of stress release both physically and mentally.
2. Hiking improves balance
When you go hiking, it’s apparent that it’s going to improve your physical fitness. However, there are more specific things that it changes in you, precisely your sense of balance. A better sense of balance helps you move with ease. Whether you’re hiking or doing your usual day-to-day stuff, moving decreases the risk of incurring any injury. With trekking poles, you can improve your sense of balance. Thus, you are less likely to fall on your butt while hiking.
3. Hiking is good for your bones
When you’re spending the majority of your life sitting down and not moving around, your bone health is going to decline. Your bone mass decreases as you age. Hence, ensure that you have enough bone mass to sustain you for a long time, even as its state declines.
One way to improve bone density and health is by doing weight-bearing or resistance exercises. Hiking is one such activity, so are walking and jogging. Therefore, when you go on a hike, you help improve your bones’ state and ensure that they remain solid and thick for a long time.
4. Hiking reduces the risk of heart disease
Another part of your body that you should work out is your heart. It is healthy for you to put your heart under controlled forms of stress, such as cardiovascular exercise. That way, your heart muscles can be stronger and healthier. Of course, hiking helps you raise your heart rate as you go along, which helps reduce the risks of heart disease.
The more often you go hiking, the more time your heart can improve and maintain stronger muscles. You don’t have to push yourself to the point that you can’t breathe to be able to get the benefits of a stronger heart. However, it will require consistency and a gradual increase in difficulty along the way.
5. Hiking is good for the soul
Sometimes, you need to take time off to be introspective and look at yourself and where you are. The usual hubbub of your day-to-day life might not be the most conducive atmosphere or environment to do that.
Therefore, getting out and away for a while can help create that environment, which is what hiking enables you to do. Being out in nature, breathing in the fresh air, and focusing on nothing but the steps you make is cleansing for your soul.
6. Hiking makes us more mindful
In line with hiking being good for the soul, it can also allow us to do mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness exercises often tell us to get off our noisy minds and focus on one thing at a time to root us back to where we stand. These mindfulness exercises allow us to enjoy everything in our life more. That’s because we are more present at the moment and not getting swept along by the passage of time.
You’ll find that after a terrific hiking trip, you’re more able to appreciate things more. You feel more alive in more ways than one.
7. Hiking gets you physically fit
We can’t list the many benefits that hiking does for your body without mentioning that it is a great way to make you physically fit. If you’re an outdoorsy person, or an active person in general, you will thoroughly enjoy hiking. However, if you’re not, you can slowly start becoming one through hiking.
Since hiking can be as easy or complex as you want it to be, it’s a great activity to do no matter your physical state. Plus, if you want more of a challenge, there are plenty of hiking trails that can help you ratchet up the workout that you’re getting from it.
What’s great about hiking as a physical activity is that the reward isn’t just the fact that you will be physically fit. Depending on where you hike, the prize can also be the unattainable and unbelievable views that you can only see if you hike through them.
8. Hiking increases happiness
Hiking is a great way to improve your mood when you’re not feeling up to it. If your everyday life is feeling a little too hectic right now, consider organizing a hiking trip. The physical activity you get from hiking will help release endorphins, making you feel happier and more energized.
At the same time, beholding the beauty that nature provides you is also a way to help boost happiness. You will feel a lot more alive afterward. It also helps that completing a hiking trip can give you a sense of achievement and self-confidence. That’s because it emphasizes that you can rely on yourself throughout the entire hike.
Hiking does more than take you through the wilderness from point A to B. However, that’s also one of its perks. From reducing heart disease risks to stress-relief, hiking also improves your physical and mental wellbeing. With these in mind, next time you feel like life is becoming more overwhelming, consider doing a bit of ecotherapy through a solid hiking trip.
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Meredith Davis has years of experience as a content writer helping businesses promote their products and services through storytelling. She is also a certified Mindful-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practitioner, a mindfulness practice that helps manage stress.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.