Hiking is one of those activities that often becomes romanticized or fantasized about but rarely performed. How many times have you said to a friend or significant other, "Let's do a hiking trip this summer!"
If you've ever said this and have never gotten around to it because of the stresses of work, school or home life, it's time to put it in the calendar. Hiking is one of those experiences that can do wonders for your mind, body and overall energy.
You don't need to plan a trip to go hiking all the way up in Canada or even hours away from home. Find a state park or hiking trail close by and make time weekly to walk and deeply reflect on your life.
Aside from the incredible natural views and people you may meet while hiking, there is also a wealth of health benefits that comes along with hiking. Below are 8 of the main reasons to start hiking today.
1. Promotes Calmness: A direct experience with nature will help you put all of your stress into perspective. You will be able to clear your mind and minimize all of the problems that you have inflated by stress.
2. Improves Cardiovascular Health: The more difficult your hike is, the harder you will exert your body. This helps to strengthen your cardiovascular health and put you in better shape.
3. Improves Sleep Quality: The amount of exertion and physical activity that it takes to hike will give you a natural high. Hiking promotes calmness and tranquility that will help you get a better sleep at night.
4. Weight Management: On average, a moderate level hike burns up to 250 calories an hour. Get out there for a whole morning and you'll burn over 1,000 calories.
5. Builds your Core: An activity like hiking can strengthen a wider range of muscles in your core that you don't get from other activities.
6. Promotes Mental Clarity: The combination of aerobic exercise and deep thinking will help to clear your mind from stresses, distractions and frivolous thoughts. This will help you to focus on your passions, goals and values.
7. Helps You Disconnect: You may feel more pressure and obligations to contact people with the ease of communication through social media and phones. This can be overwhelming if you let it. Don't make excuses, put down the electronics and hit the trails! People will survive without being able to reach you for a few hours.
8. Boosts Energy: A simple walk or the most basic of hikes will help you to get your blood flowing and promote your oxygen flow. This will help boost your energy levels and motivate you.
Let hiking be your reminder that you can achieve anything that you set out to do. If you feel like your life has been too routine lately, it's time to refocus your energy.
A hike can help revitalize and motivate you. Breaking out of your routine and accomplishing something that takes time and effort will give you a great sense of success. You may need to leave your comfort zone to get a different perspective on how to improve your life and what paths to take.
Aside from all of the physical and mental benefits that you will receive from aerobic exercise, you will also be able to find your inner champion. There's nothing more fulfilling and accomplishing than getting to the top of a summit or reaching an altitude that allows you to see for miles.
Little successes and achievements will help you remember what it's like to feel empowered. Sometimes you may forget just how capable and talented you are. Improving your connection with your mind and nature will help remind you.
1. Adams, Jeff. “The Many Benefits of Hiking.” ACTIVE.com, Active.com, 9 Oct. 2013, www.active.com/outdoors/articles/the-many-benefits-of-hiking.
2. Health Fitness Revolution. “Top 10 Health Benefits of Hiking • Health Fitness Revolution.” Health Fitness Revolution, 5 June 2018, www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-health-benefits-hiking/.
3. Robinson, Kara Mayer. “How Hiking Is Good for Body and Mind.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/hiking-body-mind.
4. Corliss, Julie. “Health Benefits of Hiking: Raise Your Heart Rate and Your Mood.” Harvard Health Blog, 23 Sept. 2016, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/health-benefits-of-hiking-raise-your-heart-rate-and-your-mood-2016092810414.
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