5 Reasons Why Hiking Should be Part of Your Exercise Routine
July 5, 2022
Chances are if you’re reading this, you love camping! And if you love camping, there’s a pretty good chance you love the outdoors. A big part of that is exploring the nature trails, wherever you find them.
Hiking has all sorts of benefits, whether done alone or with others. It’s even good for the mobility challenged, as many trails offer accessibility options like never before. It’s one thing to take a walk around your neighborhood at home – it’s quite another to breathe in the fresh air on a wooded dirt trail under the canopy of majestic trees.
Here are a few of the reasons why everyone should consider hiking the great outdoors part of their exercise routine.
1 – It Has a Calming Effect
No matter how chill your personality is, stress is something we all face, especially in this day and age. Once that ugly beast rears its head, it can be tough to keep at bay. Hiking is one way to alleviate some of that stress. Actually, it’s true of any form of exercise. But adding the element of fresh air and lovely views makes it all the more special.
Hiking takes you away from your computer, your TV, your phone, and all of the modern-day distractions that can lead to high stress. Studies have shown that a good walk in nature can help with overwhelming mental fatigue that results from living in a world that is technology-centered.
2 – Hiking Doesn’t Require a Lot of Gear
Some workouts, like Pilates and yoga, require mats, bands, and fancy equipment to do right. Not so with hiking. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes and a bottle of water. For longer hikes, bring snacks in a simple day pack. Because of this, hiking can be done on a whim or with little planning.
3 – It Can Increase your Productivity
Feeling stuck creatively? Get your hiking shoes on and go get some fresh air. The outdoors and nature can be the ultimate inspiration. What’s more, getting fresh air can stimulate the brain in ways that lends itself to creativity. It gives you the chance to look at things from a different perspective.
It helps your brain by giving you an extra boost of oxygen. Not only that, but exploring a new trail helps the brain with survival and memory skills as you navigate obstacles on the trail and other potential hazards. All of this is great for brain health.
4 – Hiking Works with Most Exercise Goals
No matter where you are on your fitness journey, hiking is a simple way to get you to your health and wellness goals. It’s one of the few exercise outlets than can vary in length, elevation, and difficulty of the terrain. Something for everyone.
For those trying to lose weight, hiking is much more fun than running like a hamster on a treadmill (although there’s nothing wrong with that!). Hiking is a feast for the eyes as well as the body. For other exercise routines, hiking is great to do during your off days when you’re not training in other areas.
5 – It Helps with Balance and Muscle Strength
One of the side effects of aging is that our balance begins to become more of an issue. But don’t accept that fate quite yet! Incorporate hiking into your routine and it will help improve your balance, making you surer on your feet. Again, start small, and increase the challenge of your hikes as you can. Uneven terrain forces your body to remain upright, which is best achieved by a strong core and balance.
The same is true for the muscles in your body, and probably the most important muscle you have is your heart! The cardiovascular benefits of hiking are many. Your leg, quad, calf, and hamstring muscles improve tremendously.
Hiking is different things to different people. For those just starting out, begin by hiking up a small hill near your home, then go progressively bigger from there. Take longer walks, by 10-minute increments, with more challenging terrain as you’re able. Dare to challenge yourself. If you really want to get into hiking, eventually you’ll do half-day or day-long hikes with no problem.
Your body and mind will thank you!