Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Hiking

Posted On Tuesday, 28 May 2019
Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Hiking

Ever heard the expression, “Just walk it off”? For ages, people have been venturing into nature as a cure for all sorts of physical and mental ailments. From depression and anxiety to feeling tired and sleepy after a big Sunday lunch, hiking can solve many of your health problems and get you feeling fresh and energized.

If you’re interested in grabbing some hiking poles and heading out, here are all the benefits you can expect to reap.

Depression Reduction
For those who suffer from depression and anxiety, life often seems like a never-ending struggle to get out of the dark. Everything you do might seem in vain and nothing makes sense. And it gets worse when you grab your phone and start scrolling through Instagram profiles of perfect people with their perfect lives, while you’re stuck in bed unable to prepare lunch for yourself. It can really be hard to get out of this frame of mind. But, next to therapy, spending time surrounded by nature and being physically active is the best way to boost your serotonin production. While depression is an illness that has no simple cure, hiking in nature is a legit depression treatment strategy almost anyone can practice.

Stress Reduction
Many things that help with depression and anxiety can alleviate the symptoms of stress. When you’re being smothered by work, school, chores and home life, taking a little break and spending some quality time away from everything can be a wonderful solution. Hiking in nature is a 100% organic stress-reliever that can relax your body and your mind. If you leave stress and worries behind, even for a few hours, you will come back home rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever comes your way next.

Mood Boost
Not every feeling of sadness and nervousness is a sign of depression or anxiety. Sometimes, people just feel down and that’s totally understandable and normal. However, it’s not pleasant! So, if you want to boost your mood, you can go out hiking. This activity releases endorphins, hormones that lift your spirit. And if you combine this with fresh air and vitamin D from the sun, you can see how hiking helps with blues. And you don’t even need any prescription for spending time in nature. All you need are good shoes, some hiking poles and a good backpack! If you don’t know anything about hiking gear, you can get informed on websites like Gear We Are and find information and buyer’s guides on everything one hiker might need. From socks to hats to tents, soon you’ll be a real hiking pro armed with the best gear.

Brain Boost
You don’t need to suffer from any mental illness or be under huge amounts of stress in order to reap the mental benefits of hiking. For instance, people who spend less time in front of a screen and more time in nature report better results with it comes to problem-solving tasks and creativity. Also, regular hikers achieve better memory results than those who spend most of their days indoors with technology. Some cognitive functions like focus can also be restored with regular closeness to nature.

Weight Loss
When it comes to the physical aspect of hiking, it can definitely be a very demanding activity. This means it can help in weight loss and management and reduce the risk of many weight-related issues. One hour of moderate hike in nature can burn around 430 calories, and as you get fitter and fitter, you can increase your pace and burn even more calories. And, it’s much more interesting to exercise in nature than at the gym.

Diabetes Prevention
Both type I and type II diabetes can be managed by hiking. Physical activity will keep your body in shape thus keep you safe from Type II diabetes. But it can also reverse some type II diabetes symptoms in people who are sufferers. While Type I diabetes has no cure still, hiking can make symptoms easier to manage by lowering the amount of insulin your body needs.

Blood Pressure Regulation
Hiking also positively affects heart health and can help with blood pressure regulation. It’s a wonderful and fun way to lower your blood pressure and decrease the risk of developing heart disease or any other serious condition.

Arthritis Prevention
While it might sound contradictory, walking is one of the best ways to relieve knee pain caused by arthritis. Only 6,000 steps a day can not only relieve arthritis but also reverse it! Sure, you could get walking benefits from circling your block, but hiking in nature provides you with uneven terrain that exercises many different group muscles in your legs. Hitting the trail is really the best way to get those steps in!

Hiking is not a cure for this ailment or that condition—it’s much more than that. It’s a great activity that can completely change your life, on both physical and mental plane. So, gear up and hit your closest trail today.

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is a father, writer, and a fitness nut. He’s passionate about many forms of strength training and spent years lifting all kinds of heavy objects.
His favorite quote: There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.

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