Hiking isn’t just about getting from A to B. It’s a great way to move your body, but not only is it an intensive workout, it’s also great for your mind. We’ll tell you about the benefits of hiking – you’ll be surprised!
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Hiking trains the whole body
Hiking is a great full-body workout, and you don’t even have to sweat it out in a crowded gym. Depending on the duration, the incline, and any obstacles you face on the path, your calve, thighs, and glutes will all get quite the challenge as they help you along your way.
If you also wear a backpack while hiking, your core muscles will also feel that extra weight, and if you use trekking poles, your arms and shoulders will also work a little harder. Depending on how much you want to challenge yourself, there are many ways to change the intensity of your hike.
The best thing about hiking is that you might not even pay attention to the myriad fitness benefits while you marvel at the beauty of the landscape around you and get plenty of fresh air.
Hiking conditions the cardiovascular system
Supporting the health of your cardiovascular system is crucial. Your cardiovascular system has the important tasks of supplying your organs and tissues with sufficient oxygen and removing waste products like carbon dioxide.
Hiking not only tones your muscles, but it can also help you lose weight. Depending on your fitness level and the intensity of the hike, you can burn up to 500 calories per hour. And if you’re carrying a backpack, you could burn even more. So, if you’re on your way to reaching your feel-good weight, you should definitely lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails!
Good to know: If you hike on uneven ground, like a hilly path, your body expends almost 30 percent more energy than if you’re on flat terrain, as a study from the ‘Journal of Experimental Biology‘ confirms.
This is because the muscles in your legs, especially your calves, hamstrings, and glutes, are recruited even more to compensate for the incline. So, choose hikes that take you cross-country, over bigger hills, soft forest floors, or scree to maximize the intensity of your outdoor workout.
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Hiking clears the head
Hiking is the easiest way to let go of the stress of everyday life and give your soul a little time to feel free. According to a study of the ‘National Academy of Sciences‘, activity in nature helps turn off a busy mind, curb negative thoughts, and lets us relax – even after just 30 minutes.
This is because hiking increases the release of the happiness hormones dopamine and serotonin, which keep us feeling satisfied and well-balanced. So, you can think of hiking as a kind of short-term, stress-busting therapy for the soul.
Hiking makes you more creative
Between constantly popping up emails, text messages, and calls, it’s not exactly easy in everyday life to turn off the noise and let your mind wander.
But this changes when we’re out and about in nature. According to a study from the US National Library of Medicine, a stay in the countryside without any electronic devices can increase creativity by a whopping 50 percent!
So, if you’re ever struggling to solve a problem or are looking for a burst of inspiration, go out into nature and see whether the solution comes all by itself. That’s just one more reason to explore.
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