Guest Blogger, Morgan Antoinette: 5 Benefits of Hiking

5 Benefits of Hiking

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Going hiking is a great chance of unwinding, seeing things, and maybe also reuniting with your friends every once in a while. Some people really do love hiking, whereas others don’t really understand what it is about.

If you are one of the latter, then maybe our top comprised of 5 benefits that you most probably never knew about will motivate you more. There could be plenty of reasons why some people don’t like hiking, but one of them could be that they don’t really know what they can get from such trips.

In fact, even if you are a big fan of hiking, these 5 benefits of monthly hiking or even camping could open your eyes. You probably know that hiking is good for you, but did you know how exactly?

So hopefully, you understand what we mean by that after you go through the 5 benefits of hiking every month that you have probably never heard of. Who knows, maybe we even motivate you enough so you dedicate some more time and effort to going out hiking every month!

Hiking allows you to socialize

Hiking is a great opportunity to meet new friends that share the same interests and maybe even some craziness with you. Experiencing memorable moments will allow you to become closer to your friends and relatives and to also meet entirely new people.

Besides, having some buddies alongside during a tough hike may serve as the strong stimulus that you needed. Hiking is a kind of a workout, and let’s be fair, working out can be boring if you don’t have anyone to share your experience with.

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More control over your workout

People mostly train in the gym with a coach. Sometimes, you just can’t stand the bossy instructions of your fitness trainer and instead want to be able to adjust the training intensity yourself. Hard training has its own benefits, but you sometimes may want to just do what you want.

Well, hiking provides excellent opportunities for that. Because there is no one to tell you what to do, you and your motivation will decide how tough it will be. Your hiking buddies may tease you over the journey, but that will just playfully motivate you to do more.

There are plenty of ways you could make your hiking journey harder or easier with. Before you actually go hiking, you could choose a harder and longer or an easier and shorter route. And even if you are already on the trail, you still could complicate or facilitate the hiking by choosing steeper hills or avoiding them. You could also, for example, pack some extra stuff with you to make your backpack heavier.

Regardless of what your goal is, you could find many original ways of tweaking the hiking to your skill level and tasks. You don’t necessarily have to change trails every time you go hiking: your imagination alone could make a single trail very challenging for you.

Health benefits

It’s no secret that hiking is beneficial for health. However, do you know how exactly hiking could benefit you?

The first benefit would be connected to excess body weight. Active hiking burns at an average of 200 calories per hour at a moderate hiking pace of 2 miles per hour. Needless to say, the quicker the pace, the faster you will burn the calories, so you could benefit from fast hiking even more.

Consistent exercise may also lower blood sugar levels, which in its turn may decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Besides, regular movement should positively impact your bones and joints and allow you to avoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

Another benefit of hiking is sun exposure: if the day is sunny, you could easily get your daily vitamin D in 10 – 20 minutes. You’d need to wear a sunscreen though because overexposure results in sunburns or even worse things!

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Improved creativity and problem-solving

Having a mental break in the form of hiking apparently is also very beneficial for your reasoning. A couple years old study discovered that spending several days hiking in nature drastically increased the participants’ problem-solving and creativity. So it turns out that hiking is beneficial both for the body and for the mind.

Most of the time, you probably won’t be doing hikes lasting several days. However, even shorter hikes could allow you to unwind and restore your mental resources.

Working every day for a long time without vacation may make you feel numb. Focusing on the easiest tasks could become very difficult, so you may be unable to enjoy even the moments of rest and isolation. If that’s exactly how you feel like, then taking the chance of hiking every once in a while – possibly, monthly, if your job allows that – would surely be beneficial for you. Take that hiking survival kit and get started, now!

Improved mental health

Multiple studies – including one conducted at Stanford University in 2015 – demonstrated that merely a daily walk greatly increased the positive emotions in the participants.

Another study compared the levels of rumination (brooding) in two groups: one walking in green areas and the other in urban areas. The results were that the “brooding” was significantly reduced in the “green” group.

A study conducted by Finnish researchers discovered that even short walks out in nature considerably reduced the level of stress in participants when compared to walks in urban areas.

Theories of the so-called “nature deficit disorder” in humans have long been circulating among scientists and researchers. This disorder is characterized by a lack of exposure to nature and green areas and ensuing increased level of stress.

While the negatives of nature deficit in humans aren’t established decisively by science, more and more studies come to the same conclusion: exposure to nature positively impacts the participants.

Thereby, hiking is an excellent opportunity of getting out of the stressful urban areas into the embrace of nature. The effect of hiking may not be as noticeable in those who live in countryside areas (since they are exposed to nature to a greater extent), but it will still be there. Even more so if happen to live and work in a city!

Write by Morgan Antoinette.

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