Hiking is a great, and free-of-charge body workout, which invigorates the mind and emotions. By disconnecting from tech and reconnecting with nature and the world around us, our brain gets the needed recharge.
Hiking doesn’t just fill our lungs with fresh air, but it offers so many other health benefits. Working out on a regular basis provides benefits for our mental health as well.
Hiking is a great opportunity to boost the health of the heart, strengthen the muscles, and optimize the functioning of the lungs.
If you still have doubts about why you should add more hiking sessions to your physical activity schedule, keep reading.
Below, check out the five most impressive health benefits that hiking offers.
5 Impressive Health Benefits of Hiking
- Better sleep quality
A hike in nature doesn’t just call for a post-recovery nap, but it may also better your overall quality of sleep.
Namely, according to a study from 2017, published in the journal Current Biology, the subjects were followed before and during a weekend camping trip.
They were exposed to natural light without electronics and experienced a rise in their melatonin and improved internal clock.
- Makes us happier
Working out regularly stimulates a release of endorphins-brain chemicals associated with positive emotions.
Hiking may also better our mood, even more than a simple walk in the neighborhood can.
Namely, in one research done by Gregory Bratman, a university researcher from Stanford, 60 people were given to take a 50-minute walk in the woods or a walk in an urban area.
In the end, those who spent time in nature struggled less with rumination and anxiety. They also had more positive feelings than the other group.
With this in mind, if you’re in need of an extra boost in happiness, hike with a friend or two and benefit from hiking and the social interaction for optimal well-being.
- Stronger bones
Being a weight-bearing exercise, hiking helps strengthen the muscles and bones by making them work harder against the force of gravity.
Bone density is pivotal, especially as we age. Studies suggest that our bone density reduces by a percent yearly after the age of 40.
So, a hike outdoors may have a positive influence on the reduction of this loss. According to the CDC, half an hour of physical workout like brisk walking, five days per week, is highly recommendable.
Hiking also increases our vitamin D which is pivotal for the absorption of calcium necessary for optimal bone health.
- Reduces depression
The vitamin D we get from spending time in natre is pivotal for healthy bones and for reduced depression.
In one revieew of 61 studies, there’s a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Namely, the ones with the lowest vitamin D levels had the highest risk of depression. And, those who had depression had lower amounts of vitamin D.
- Increases your knowledge
The forest and nature in general are places for exploration.
Focus on the trees and plants and learn about them. Read about their history and origin and connect on a deeper level.
This will add to the hike’s uniqueness, but also expand your knowledge.