The modern world doesn’t require people to bask in nature as often as it should. In fact, we surround ourselves in concrete jungles and technological marvels, which is why the act of being outdoors itself ends up being a novelty. In some cases, it even ends up being a luxury.
If you have the means to do so, you should try and exercise in nature more often. One exercise that requires you to be out and about in nature is hiking.
There are a lot of benefits associated with hiking, which is why it’s such a popular activity. In the US alone, there are about 47 million people who went hiking in the year 2018, and the trend seems to be increasing.
Hiking allows you to discover both local and even international hiking trails. You get to go out and explore local nature spots that you probably wouldn’t have noticed before.
But other than what we’ve mentioned, here are ten more benefits of hiking:
Inhaling the Fresh Air
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than four million people all over the world have died due to something that they can directly attribute to air pollution.
Even if you’re not a smoker, if the environment around you is full of air pollution, then that pollution is still going to affect your overall health.
Unfortunately, living in the city doesn’t give you the opportunity to inhale fresh air. Therefore, you should take the chance to get out into nature and inhale fresh air whenever you could.
With that said, engaging in an outdoor exercise that gets you out into nature ‒ such as hiking ‒ will help you get that much needed fresh air.
Good for Leg Muscles
As a lot of gym rats would tell you, you should never skip leg day whenever you work out. But if you work in the office, then you’re likely sitting still for long hours at a time, which can weaken your leg muscles.
When you hike, you rely on your leg muscles the most to get you to where you need to go. Since your legs are responsible for carrying the weight of your entire body, you shouldn’t neglect its overall improvement.
Hiking will help you improve the strength of your leg muscles, as well as its muscular endurance. If you do end up skipping leg day, a great alternative would be a hiking trip.
Remember not to overwork yourself, though. Know your limits. If you’re not used to traveling long distances, then you shouldn’t do that. Much like in the gym, you should learn to pace yourself.
Increases Energy Levels
There’s no doubt that exercises, such as hiking, will end up tiring you out. After all, it’s pushing your body to achieve specific physical goals.
However, it doesn’t mean that hiking only makes you tired. What hiking does is that it helps increase your overall energy levels. Over time you will begin to find yourself staying energetic for a more extended period.
Of course, you have to maintain some level of consistency to be able to develop it. Don’t give up too soon. Instead, learn to pace yourself.
Start with more accessible hikes that won’t take too long. Then, as you become better, you can take longer hikes in rougher terrain.
Lowers Your Blood Pressure and Sugar Levels
If you have hypertension or hyperglycemia, then hiking is something that you should consider trying.
With hiking, you lower your overall blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Thus, preventing any disease that comes with it.
Even if you don’t think you have high blood pressure nor high sugar levels, it’s best to prevent it from happening altogether.
Lowers the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
They say that the best exercise that will get your heart pumping that’s quite simple and anybody can do is walking. Well, wouldn’t you know it, walking is a huge part of hiking!
Thus, if you want to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, then you need to exercise your cardiovascular system in the first place.
If you hike regularly, you’re going to feel more comfortable with any cardio-related exercises. You won’t find yourself with a furiously beating heart after every jog you take.
Longer Life Expectancy
When you lower health risks through physical activity, you improve your health, which can help extend your life expectancy. In relation to this, people who walk often tend to have less of a need for any medical assistance.
If you keep up with your hiking, you can find yourself living a lot longer.
The ability to balance one’s self is an underrated and subtle everyday thing that we do subconsciously. It’s something that we do when we walk and when we go up and down the stairs.
As you grow older, you want to be able to have a good sense of balance still. Otherwise, you can suffer a lot more from a bad fall.
When you go on any outdoor exercise, you end up honing, exercising, and improving your sense of balance. For example, if you go hiking, it involves a lot of balancing one’s self, sometimes in very precarious situations.
To help support you on a hike, though, make sure that you have sturdy hiking poles that can carry your weight.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle most of the time, then you need to dedicate yourself to one activity that’s all about your physical fitness. Otherwise, you might end up unhealthy, and you don’t do enough exercise that will help you burn those calories.
Luckily, any exercise ‒ including hiking ‒ will help you lose weight and burn some calories.
Helps Prevent and Control Diabetes
Since hiking helps you reduce your overall blood sugar levels, it makes sense that it’s a fitting activity that people with diabetes can do.
Of course, make sure that you consult with a doctor first before committing to any strenuous activity. But overall, hiking can help you prevent or control your diabetes.
Stimulates Brain Activity
Physical activity also helps improve your mental health because it stimulates your brain.
Exercise, such as hiking, helps generate new blood vessels in your brain cells that are responsible for developing your brainpower.
When you start to get into hiking, you get to enjoy new sceneries, and you can even meet new people along the way.
If you really start diving deep into the world of hiking, it can also take you all over the world, in places that not a lot of people have been to before. Hiking helps broaden your world, keep your body in shape, and improve your mental health.
Given all that hiking has to offer you, why wouldn’t you want to try it out for yourself? Once you get the opportunity, consider holding a short hiking trip and start trying out this stimulating and beneficial exercise for yourself.