The Benefits of Hiking

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There is something intrinsically calming about being surrounded by nature, even a short trip to a park can change the pace of the day. While there are many outdoor activities to choose from, hiking has its own unique benefits.

Physical Exercise

Maybe one of the most obvious positive aspects of hiking is the physical quality of it. However, hiking offers more than your treadmill at home. When you are hiking on a natural, uneven terrain you:

•Improve your heart health

•Improve your balance and motor skills

•Build strength in bones and muscles

•Build core body strength

•Challenge your body to cope with changes in exertion (your body works harder when going uphill than it does on flat ground)

If you have balance or vision issues, walking with hiking poles can give you more security as you navigate the trail.

Family Hiking

Community Building

Hiking is a great activity to do with others and it can help you understand the natural aspects of the area you live in. While hiking with a friend or family member you can:

•Speak about difficult topics while taking the pressure away from sitting across from each other

•Experience new things together

•Overcome physical challenges with the support of others

•Make new memories

•Educate young people about local plants and animals 

Hiking can take you out of your typical surroundings and that can sometimes make you feel more courageous about opening up to others. It's a great way to build relationships while seeing new things.

Man Hiking

Mental Health

Spending time outside has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Research has shown it can:

•Lower anxiety

•Reduce stress

•Improve outlook

•Lower risk of depression

Another thing you might not think about is the impact your field of view has on your mental health. In our houses we usually don’t have to look more than thirty feet beyond ourselves. Prisoners who are kept inside for long periods have shown negative consequences from not being able to look into the distance. When hiking, you are giving yourself the opportunity to stare out far and wide.

Happy Hiking!

Sources:
Corliss, J. (2018, November 13). Health benefits of hiking: Raise your heart rate and your mood. Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/health-benefits-of-hiking-raise-your-heart-rate-and-your-mood-2016092810414
Benefits of Hiking. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.nps.gov/subjects/trails/benefits-of-hiking.htm

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