Hiking – A Health Boon or Bane?
While many of us are quite aware of the benefits of exercising regularly, only few could enjoy its perks. Wondering why? Well! Most people are of the view that exercise burdens the body and with this perception, it becomes impossible for them to take out some time from their busy schedule for exercising.
Moderate exercise always proves to be advantageous for our health, both physically and mentally. However, vigorous exercise may put stress or wear and tear to our body. So, does this mean hiking everyday is disadvantageous for our health? The answer is, no.
Let’s explore how hiking every day can prove beneficial for our health.
What is Hiking?
There’s a common misconception that hiking only refers to climbing or walking through steep mountainsides, rocky lands, or forests. The truth is that hiking can be regarded as a low-intensity workout meant for leading a healthy life. Instead of climbing mountains or walking through irregular terrains, you may consider stimulating your body and mind through brisk walking at a low pace over paved trails or through mild trekking amidst nature – The decision is completely yours!
Benefits That You Get from Hiking
Sedentary lifestyle gives rise to several health risks such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, various types of cancers, and even mental disorders. Hence, if you do not have time to exhaust your body working out at the gym or treadmill, you can opt for hiking and retrieve a great deal of health benefits.
Physical Benefits of Hiking
- Controls weight: Hiking is a great way of burning out calories and losing fat. Manoeuvring through high altitudes can always help you in losing weight, thus preventing obesity.
- Heals the body: Hiking on a regular basis gets the heart pumping and helps in regulating your blood pressure and cholesterol. This decreases the risks of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, this helps in lowering your blood sugar level to control or prevent diabetes. Long distance hikes may also improve anti-oxidant capacity and fight off certain types of cancer.
- Improves bone density: Being a weight-bearing exercise, hiking helps in making your bones stronger, providing your body with increased strength and balance. Not only the young people but older people can also go for hiking to improve their bone density and get rid of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
- Tones muscles: Hiking sharpens your balance and enhances your core strength. Besides toning your lower body including your legs, thighs, and calves, it can benefit your shoulders, arms, and back if you carry a heavy bag pack while hiking.
Mental Benefits of Hiking
- Improves social and cognitive skills: Remember, technology is a major factor behind added stress and insomnia. So, instead of spending time with smartphones or other devices, you can go for a hiking with your friends or family members and spend some quality time with them. Besides that, if you come across a problem while hiking, it is you who finds a solution to fix it. As such, your critical thinking abilities and creative skills get enhanced.
- Relieves stress: The increasing endorphins in your body during hiking help release pain and stress, triggering a positive feeling. This makes you ready for taking up challenges and dealing with the stress in your daily life.
- Wards of negative thoughts: As a mild exercise, hiking increases serotonin in the brain, a chemical which stimulates your feelings of happiness. This prevents your brain from ruminating on negative thoughts, thereby fighting off depression and anxiety.
So, what are you waiting for? Get away from the hectic life and technology and start enjoying the health perks through hiking. If you are just a beginner and you intend to begin your journey as a hiker, you need to be mentally and physically prepared for the same. Also, ensure to drink water intermittently and keep yourself hydrated throughout your hiking journey. Apart from proper hiking boots, you may opt for carrying all your essentials in a backpack. You may also take some buddies and head out to the trail.