Getting out on the open trail can cure everything that ails you. How do I know? Hiking helped transform my body and mind. There are so many benefits of hiking. It also helped me develop positive coping skills and methods of dealing with stress. Instead of reaching for the pint of mint chip ice cream, I was lacing up my hiking boots and hitting the trails and taking advantage of how hiking benefits my body, mind and soul.
Hiking Benefits Your Body, Mind, and Soul
Hiking is a fully immersive exercise that has positive ramifications for your body, mind, and soul. You don’t even need to travel far to discover the adventurer within you. Here are just a few of the many perks that you’ll start to see the second you get off the couch!
Hiking Benefit #1: Hiking Is A Fantastic Cardio Workout
Hiking works and tones your entire body. It is one of the best cardio workouts out there, and you don’t need any fancy equipment to partake in it!
Cardio is one of the best ways to keep the inside of your body young and lower health risks. When you start to get your blood pumping and muscles working, you begin to smooth out any stiffness in your joints and give your body the vigorous once-over that it needs. Cardio is a fantastic way to keep in shape, and since hiking works your core muscles, you’re also getting a good dose of toning also.
Why pay for a fancy gym membership when you have everything you need to form and maintain a healthy body right at your fingertips? Hit the trail, and you will be amazed by what a phenomenal coach Mother Nature is!
Hiking Benefit #2: Hiking Reduces Your Risk Of Disease
As we get older, our bodies start to break down. Aging is an inevitable fact of life, but we can slow down the process with regular exercise like hiking.
Hiking, like all great cardio exercise, reduces your risk of developing a debilitating disease. It makes sense since our bodies respond positively when we give them attention and work our muscles properly.
Hiking is especially good for the heart, and since heart disease is one of the deadliest ailments in the United States, it pays to keep your ticker nice and healthy.
Additionally, hiking can stave off other conditions and keep your joints nice and oiled, so you don’t develop as much stiffness in your elder years. If you want to age gracefully and painlessly, try hitting those trails now. Your body will thank you later!
Hiking Benefit #3: Hiking Will Improve Your Sleep Quality
Good sleep is absolutely vital to living a productive, healthy and full life and is one of the most important hiking benefits. We simply don’t operate as well when we are tired, which is why it’s so important to get quality sleep as often as we can.
Hiking helps improve your sleep quality by exercising your body, mind, and spirit to a comfortable state of tiredness. While you never want to work out until you are exhausted, it’s okay to feel a little bit drowsy after a full day out on the trails. A more tired body will automatically gravitate towards rest, and you will be more inclined to put down that phone and shut your eyes when it’s time to go to bed.
I know that I have so much trouble shutting off my mind at night, and hiking is really instrumental in getting me the good sleep that I need to do my best the following day.
Hiking Benefit #4: Hiking Helps You Lose Weight
Hiking works the whole body, so it is one of the best exercises out there to lose weight quickly.
You can burn hundreds of calories in just one hour, and even more if you are climbing uphill. Unlike working out at the monotonous gym, hiking never gets boring because you have so many stimuli right around you. You won’t even notice that you are getting a serious workout in, at least not until you step on the scale.
Hiking is a full-body workout that will shrink your waistline while targeting your core. I lost twenty pounds simply by picking up my hiking boots and heading out on the local trails. I look and feel better. I also have more energy than I did ten years ago!
If you are looking for a way to blast off that stubborn belly fat or those love handles, hiking is an awesome outdoor activity that will have you looking svelte in no time.
Hiking Benefit #5: Hiking Can Help Improve Your Memory
Hiking is not just good for your body; it can aid your mind as well.
Memory is another one of those things that seem to go down the tubes as we age. Still, hiking can actually help improve your memory by increasing blood flow to the brain and fostering sharper thinking, creativity, and developing long and short-term memory.
You won’t even realize that your brain is growing stronger with each step of your hiking boots because you will be so entranced by the lovely nature around you. Rest assured, your brain is furiously making connections and repairing itself as you are drinking in the natural splendor that surrounds you.
I noticed that my memory was sharper after I started hiking. I no longer would forget why I entered a room or misplace everyday items as often. Feed your brain with fresh air, and it will reward you with improved cognition and memory.
Hiking Benefit #6: Hiking Soothes Stress
Hitting the trails can help you out in another area that impacts both your body and mind; your stress levels. We know that stress can ruin our bodies and cause our minds to go into overdrive, but it can also wreak havoc on our appearance.
Stress is an equal-opportunity problem; attacking young and old, and it seems almost inescapable in our culture. I say “almost” because there is a way to get rid of stress by simply heading out into the woods and letting it all go.
Not only does exercise reduce stress, but nature has a restorative way about her, and can help stress melt away. If you are feeling on edge all of the time, don’t turn towards destructive coping mechanisms. Instead, motivate yourself to head outside and treat your body, mind, and soul to a beautiful hike.
You will come back more focused, full of energy, and with a fresh perspective on things.
Hiking Benefit #7: Hiking Improves Focus
Hiking is a great way to sharpen your focus. In today’s modern world, there are distractions within our reach at all times. We are surrounded by screens, notifications, and different stimuli. It can be impossible to maintain focus on anything!
Hiking slows us down and removes the distractions from our lives, freeing us to concentrate on the singular beauty of an autumn leaf, or the lulling croon of a bird song. As cheesy as it may sound, the simpler things really are the best!
Since the dawn of time, hiking has been used as a way to recalibrate and get in tune with nature. This is even more critical today when you consider that barely a moment goes by without us switching focus to the next shiny thing.
There’s also some schools of thought out there that say that being constantly connected is a bad thing. It can even be considered an addiction. Removing the temptation of multiple screens and merely letting yourself soak in nature is an excellent way to remember what’s important.
Hiking Benefit #8: Hiking Is A Phenomenal Social Activity
One of the greatest things about hiking is that you do not need to go it alone. Of course, sometimes, I love getting out there in the wilderness and allowing my mind to bask in the solitude, but hiking can also be an enjoyable social activity that helps you to find a brand new tribe of people to connect with.
It is also a fantastic way to get your family communicating and working out together. My two kids are right on the brink of those troublesome teenage years, so it’s good to get them focused on something other than video games or their phones. Hiking allows my family to connect, and I’m sure that it will do the same for yours.
Hiking is also a great way to find friends if you’re traveling or have just moved to a new place. The community tends to be fairly insular and friendly, so you won’t have to go far to find a friendly face and someone who will swap hiking tips with you.
Let’s face it; hiking is a great way to get to know people or connect deeply with those already in your life. It involves a healthy activity and all of those benefits we discussed earlier. Really, what’s the downside?
If you’ve been searching for an activity that combines fitness, stress relief, and improves your mental health, why not try hiking on for size? There’s a reason why this outdoor sport is one of the most popular ways that people work out in the nation.
Trust me; once you try it, you will be hooked!