Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains

Of course, a quality mountain or forest hike can really cleanse our body and mind and science is also pro-hiking because it can change the brain for better! In addition to offering an instant emotion of calm and satisfaction, time spend outdoors and hiking can reduce overthinking and fight off negative thoughts, a study shows.

It allows us to enjoy the present moment and thus, decreases anxiety and depression. So, get your hiking boots ready and head out in nature- your brain will thank you!

What Did the Study Show?

For the purposes of the study, the research team compared the reported rumination of people who hiked through an urban or through a natural environment.

It was discovered that the participants who hiked for hour and a half in a natural environment experienced lower levels of rumination and lower neural activity in the area of the brain linked with mental disease.

On the other hand, those who walked in the urban environment did not experience reduction in overthinking.

According to the researchers, urbanization is tightly related with higher levels of depression and risk of mental disease.

Therefore, we need to get out of the urban environments on a regular basis and spend more time in nature. This is the best way to keep our optimal physical and mental well-being.

Hiking & No Technology can Better Your Problem-Solving Skills

According to another study done by psychologists David L. Strayer and Ruth A. Atchley, the problem-solving skills can become better if we disconnect from technology and connect with nature.

The study participants went backpacking for four days and during that time, they were not allowed to use any kind of technology. They needed to complete creative thinking and complex problem solving tasks. It was concluded that their performance bettered by 50 percent.

With this in mind and with the results from the two studies, it can be concluded that technology and urban noise are disruptive and are diminishing our focus and thus, worsen our cognitive capacity.

Therefore, use your free time to head for long hikes without technology to fight off mental tiredness, improve brain health, and improve your creative thinking!

How to Start Your Hiking Journey?

Luckily for us, hiking is one of the easiest and most affordable physical activities and the whole family can enjoy it, including your grandparents! And, begin slowly, no need to rush.

If a half-an-hour walk in a park is good for you, then do it. It is always better to get some exercise than none. Gradually increase the duration and explore new surroundings.

When heading out to nature, remember to turn off your phones and internet and try to connect with nature and everything around you. Use a map for directions. Explore and get to know nature- you will be amazed by everything you see when you put your phone down.

In order to have a pleasant and enjoyable hike, you need to get appropriate hiking shoes, a hat that will protect you from the sun, a water bottle, and easy and light layer clothes so you can easily cool down or warm up if needed.

Sources:

COLLECTIVE EVOLUTION

HEALTHY FOOD HOUSE

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