Hiking is not only great exercise, but it provides a variety of awesome benefits including building muscles and boosting your mental health. Just a moderate-intensity hike is a great alternative to using a treadmill in the gym and a lot more interesting!
But if you are in any doubt, here are ten good reasons why hiking can benefit health and well-being:
A regular hike helps to fight-off bone loss and strengthens the bones. Hiking at least 2.5 hours per week has the potential to prevent joint stiffness and improve joint flexibility, which is especially helpful for those suffering from arthritis.
Aerobic exercise like hiking has the potential to fight off the development of certain cancers. Regular physical exercise is said to lower the risk of colon and breast cancer.
Plus, there is also a chance of lowering the risks associated with developing endometrial or lung cancer.
Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Cholesterol
The risk of cardiovascular disease is lowered when able to keep to a schedule of moderate-intensity exercise, such as hiking.
Hiking is not only great for the cardiovascular system but also helps with cholesterol too. Hiking has been shown to lower triglyceride levels and increase the “good cholesterol” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels.
This all helps to cut the risks of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease. So not only will you be in better shape to enjoy your later years, but you will have more of them too!
Regular aerobic exercise is effective at controlling blood sugar levels, which is needed to control or prevent the outbreak of diabetes.
Hiking is recommended by doctors as a good exercise to manage diabetes, along with all the other benefits.
Hiking teaches your body to transfer fuel and oxygen to major body parts, much more efficiently.
This additional efficiency of getting oxygen and fuel through your body to the muscle tissue means you will feel fitter and more energetic.
Hiking has been shown to be great for alleviating symptoms of insomnia especially if you get out into nature.
Any exercise that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time can combat insomnia almost as well as sleeping pills, but some studies have found that exercise is more effective when performed outdoors because the exposure to daylight helps keep the internal clock in rhythm.
This means the chances of getting a refreshing night’s sleep after completing a long and energizing hike is much greater.
There are many studies that link getting out into nature with better mental health.
A relaxing hike through a forest, lake, or mountain setting is certain to help with getting away from your daily stresses, lifting the spirits and calming the nerves.
Plus, hiking with companies is a great way to socialize and meet new people, which is also good for our mental well-being.
Being out on the hiking trails makes it easier to get the proper daily dosage of vitamin D, which is necessary for strong bones and muscles.
The most efficient source of vitamin D is the sun – and 15-20 minutes per day is more than enough to maintain the optimum vitamin D level.
Hiking helps to burn calories and kept the weight under control. Start a hiking regimen slowly (about 25-30 minutes daily) and build up to the daily time to 60 minutes.
Hiking calories burned (per hour) are approx 435 for a woman who weighs 165-lbs and 517 for a man who weighs 192-lbs.
Getting out in nature and walking the trails is a good exercise to promote all-round well being.
Hiking has the ability to promote general good health and leads to a healthier lifestyle. Walking at a safe and steady pace on the hiking trails can provide a reliable form of exercise for most people.
Hopefully we have covered why hiking is a good exercise. Even better is that it is very easy to get started.
Most of the hiking trails are given a difficulty rating (easy, moderate, experienced), so make sure to start out on the right terrain to match the existing ability. So start slowly with hiking and progress over time to the next level.
So have a look at our guide on getting started hiking, then get out on those trails and lap up the wonders that nature has to offer!
Matt Green, is an avid hiker and lover of the great outdoors. He is always planning his next big trip or hitting the trails for a solo hike.
He’s traveled extensively to many remote regions and has plenty of experience exploring various terrains, and stories to tell.