One of my favorite ways to get exercise is hiking. I am lucky to have lived in beautiful places like Utah and Minnesota where there are so many amazing hiking trails. Even when I travel, I’m always searching for places I can go hiking. It is so peaceful and relaxing being out in nature, but hiking is also a great workout. You really feel accomplished after a good hike! Here are some more health benefits of hiking:
Health Benefits of Hiking
- Hiking is a creative and fun way to get exercise.
- Improve cardiovascular health.
- There are studies that have shown being outdoors and in nature can improve mental health.
- Hiking solo or with friends or family is a great way to improve relationships and strengthen bonds – either with yourself or others.
- Improve blood pressure.
- Help your balance.
- Boost bone density.
- Lose weight. Even small inclines increase your heart rate and burn extra calories.
- Hiking can be a great low impact workout.
- If you are new to hiking, start with short, flatter trails and work your way up.
- Make sure you are wearing appropriate shoes and clothing.
- Get a map or information about the trail online ahead of time so you’re prepared for the terrain.
- For longer hikes, make sure you are prepared with snacks and water.
- While it’s important to bring a phone with you for safety reasons, try to leave it in your pocket or backpack and not look at it the whole time.
- Check the weather before you go so you know what to wear and what to be prepared for.
- Bring sun protection, bug spray, first aid supplies.
- Pick a pace that you can maintain for as long as you want to hike. It can be tempting to go full force ahead when you start the trail, but you want to make sure you have the energy to head back too.
- Abide by the Leave No Trace principles when you are out hiking.
It doesn’t matter if you are just going for a walk around your local forest preserve, or doing an intense hike through a national park, being outdoors and enjoying nature can be very good for both your physical and mental health. So get out there!
Now I want to hear from you! Do you like to hike? Have you noticed any health benefits from it? Also, where are your favorite places to hike? I’m always looking for suggestions!