Whether you’re looking to lose weight, reduce stress, or simply clear your head and get out into nature, hiking delivers almost immediate rewards. According to the American Hiking Society, hiking delivers a remarkable range of health benefits with comparatively few risks. By using hiking as a way to stay physically active, you can lose weight, reduce heart disease, decrease hypertension, and slow the aging process. It also offers mental health benefits by reducing stress and anxiety. As you hike more frequently, you’ll begin to develop additional stamina, skills, and comfort on the trail.
The beauty of hiking is that it’s an extension of something we all do naturally and every day. You will improve your stamina over time, but the initial learning curve is almost non-existent. It’s easy to stick with hiking because the frustration level for beginners is low and you can control the intensity of your workout and find the right pace for you. Hiking offers a lot of health benefits and may also help prolong your life.
Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, including hiking at your own level, is considered safe for most people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Regular exercise, such as hiking, helps elevate your high-density lipoprotein levels and lower your triglyceride levels. This reduces your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
Regular hiking helps you to control, or even prevent, diabetes by lowering your blood sugar. Aerobic activities such as hiking bring extra oxygen and fuel to your muscles, organs and other body tissues. This extra oxygen and fuel provides a boost that strengthens your muscles and lungs, while increasing your endurance, alertness and energy level.
You can also fight osteoporosis and arthritis by taking hikes. Regular hiking helps develop strong bones and slows down bone loss. If you have arthritis, 150 minutes of hiking per week keeps your joints flexible and helps stave off the joint stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.
Keep your weight under control with a regular hiking regimen. Hiking burns calories; Diabetic Lifestyle states at a slow pace of 2 miles per hour, a 150-pound person burns approximately 240 calories per hour. Start slowly and work up to 30 minutes to 60 minutes daily.
A hike through a beautiful wooded area can calm your nerves and lift your spirits. Take a scenic hike to relieve stress and forget your worries for a while. Hiking with a group provides an excellent opportunity to socialize and get to know others. If you have trouble sleeping, you may find that you will sleep better after taking an invigorating hike. Hiking regularly will reduce insomnia, help you get to sleep faster and enjoy a more refreshing sleep.