Hiking is a sport and since engaging in a sport is akin to taking up exercise, hiking offers health benefits. A wide variety of health benefits that you can enjoy without actually feeling like you are working out.
Hiking trails can be done by young ones, adults and people in their 50s as long as their medical conditions allow them to.
Benefits and Why
Some people run along the park for an hour or so every morning, while others may have different routine to keep fit, but not many cover both cardio and strength. Hiking can do all that and here are the lists but not limited to:
Cardiovascular diseases and cholesterol related health problems risk decrease
Hiking is a type of sport that stretches for hours.
According to Livestrong, the moderate-intensity activity does not burst your heart, yet, enough for it to keep pumping and training those heart muscles to become stronger and at the same time, breaks down cholesterol and prevents heart attack, stroke and a bunch of other health problems.
The more it is trained, the higher your stamina threshold.
Weight Loss and Muscle Training
When you do weightlifting, you form muscles from protein by using power on your arms. When you run on a treadmill, you are doing cardio exercise that focuses mainly on burning your calories, aside from training your legs.
In both type of exercises, you burn calories. In hiking, you can do both constantly and burn up to 600 calories an hour depending on your weight, the weight you carry with you and the terrain you walk on.
When you walk on a straight path and throughout the whole journey, you are doing cardio. When you exert power to climb up steep rocks and carry all your supplies throughout the whole journey, that is partly heavy training.
Goodhiker mentioned an additional benefit to this by stating the fact that hiking for a few hours a week will reduce the risk of cancers developing in your colon and breast.
According to fitnessblender, muscles that will benefit from hiking are glutes, lower back, abs, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, obliques, ankle and knee complex and thighs. With hiking poles, you can even burn more calories and train more muscles.
Balance and Core
Walking through uneven land, trails and pathways help train balancing and strengthen your core. You will have a stronger grip on the land. Harvard informs that core helps improve the functions of your arms and legs.
In daily life, strong core prevents injuries when falling and tripping.
It also helps when you do work that requires sitting for a long time. It also promotes good posture while protecting your lower back. Basically, many activities include your core in moving, so it is ultimately vital and useful to have a strong core.
Challenging but relaxing
Hiking is typically done in mountains and hills that are still naturally maintained. Nature and greenery that grows along the trails helps calm the mind.
Fresh air and quiet environment helps you to focus more on what you are doing and clear the ‘fog’ or ‘crowded thoughts’ in your head. While climbing some narrow steeps can prove to be challenging, the activity itself is one that helps relieve stress away from the hectic city life.
Huffingtonpost talks about a research that becomes a proof of mental benefit to hiking. Spending time away from gadgets and close to the nature helps students and workers to focus longer.
Heals the soul
Not only relaxing, hiking has also been chosen by many as a type of therapy. It helps people with severe depression and reduces suicidal tendencies. It can even help observers to be more ‘hopeful’ and show a more positive outlook to life.
Tips for an enjoyable trip
Hiking is a fun activity especially with all the benefits listed up here. Follow the tips below even if you are an expert as they may come in handy:
- Start easy. Especially because hiking trips are often ‘healing trips’, make sure to hike at your own pace as this is the only way you would find it enjoyable.
- Prioritize safety and always be prepared. Even with the most strigent planning, accidents can happen to you or your companion. Always have a little more supply ready and a small first aid kit in the group.
- Know what you should bring: water bottle, hiking backpack, jacket, food, etc. Also know where you are going. Check the trails, route and if the weather is supportive. Reschedule if it does not seem favorable.
- Don’t go alone. Especially if you are a beginner. Having someone on the way to talk with or simply accompanying you will make a difference. You can also support each other when facing troubles or hurt.