Hiking is a great way to get exercise and has many health benefits. Here are some of the reasons why hiking is good for you:
- Hiking is a great whole-body workout that can help build stronger muscles and bones, improve your sense of balance, and increase your heart health.
- Hiking can help you manage your weight and stabilize cholesterol levels.
- Hiking can improve your immune system functioning.
Mental and Emotional Benefits:
- Hiking can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Hiking can help keep your mind sharper than many other forms of exercise.
- Hiking can help reduce stress levels and improve your overall mental and emotional well-being.
- Hiking can help cement a positive relationship with the natural world.
Overall, hiking is a great way to improve your physical and mental health, and it’s accessible to people of all fitness levels. However, it’s important to be aware of safety measures while hiking to mitigate potential risks.
What happens to your body when you start hiking?
When you start hiking, your body undergoes several changes, both positive and negative. Here are some of the changes that occur in your body when you start hiking:
- Improved cardiovascular health: Hiking is great for cardiovascular health. Even light hiking can raise the heart rate to a moderate level which helps improve aerobic fitness and endurance. Over time, your body adjusts to new fitness levels and you can hike longer, faster, and harder without feeling as fatigued or out of breath. Hiking can also improve markers associated with cardiovascular health like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol.
- Improved muscular fitness: Hiking helps to strengthen muscles in the body, especially the lower body. Because hiking is a weight-bearing activity, it helps to build stabilizing muscles in the legs and core to improve balance and stability. Hiking also works the muscles in the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
- Improved mental focus and creativity: Hiking can improve mental focus and creativity. It can help reduce anxiety and fatigue. Spending time in nature has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress.
- Increased testosterone levels: According to a study, testosterone levels increase during a long hike. Testosterone regulates energy, libido, muscle growth, aggression, and a host of other functions.
- Improved core strength: Hiking is typically thought of as heavy on the lower body, but you may not realize you are actually working your core. Hiking can help build core strength.
It is important to note that staying safe from injury is equally as important, as hiking does have the potential to be dangerous due to a number of factors. It is important to warm up and cool down before and after each hike, lightly stretching if that feels good for your body. You should be cognizant of your need for rest and take breaks when necessary. Recovery is imperative to truly build.
Is hiking only in mountains?
No, hiking is not only in mountains. Hiking is basically walking in nature on any path or on a specific trail. It is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments. Hiking can be done in various places such as forests, hills, valleys, deserts, and even in urban areas. While hiking programs are suitable for almost anyone with a good fitness level and a small backpack, mountaineering requires some degree of rock climbing and specialized equipment.