We all know that hiking is a good cardiovascular workout that allows us to build up fitness, muscle and strength.
But there’s more to it than just keeping in physical shape.
Alongside unforgettable views from mountain tops, animals racing across open fields or the glimpse of boats out on the horizon, walking provides an abundance of mental and physical perks.
In today’s hectic world it can be difficult to just stop, breathe and appreciate things around us.
The good news is that you don’t have to be into yoga or meditation to start changing your mood and outlook.
Although the fatigue from our chaotic lives may try to dissuade us from getting outdoors, the rewards are limitless and tangible.
Hiking is the perfect way to indulge in nature’s therapy and depending on your destination, it’s totally free.
Getting outside in a rural setting is the best way to find some silence and clarity, unclog our brains from unnecessary information and allow us to focus on the bigger picture.
Our minds and bodies need silence in order to regenerate and avoid being too cluttered.
Once we are out on the trail, everyday stressors become insignificant and we focus purely on putting one foot in front of the other in order to get to our destination.
Our chaotic lives seem to become simplified and the solutions to complex problems can appear out of nowhere.
In urban settings we are overwhelmed with people and products vying for our attention, leading to feelings of being stressed, overwhelmed and unable to make sense of our thoughts.
Successful individuals – including Beethoven, Darwin, Charles Dickens, Churchill and even Gandhi – claim that their best ideas have presented themselves during a walk.
Spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.
A study from Stanford University proved that being in nature can boost your mood and improve mental health.
Spending time in nature can not only help with depression and anxiety but also lower our blood pressure, reduce our risk of diabetes, heart disease, asthma and more.
You don’t even need to hike for very long to start enjoying improved brain health, with research showing that a 20-minute hike can improve the way your brain processes information.
Some research suggests that the physical benefits of hiking extend as far as to help cancer patients recover.
Alongside all of this are the measurable physical improvements that come alongside getting out and about.
Hiking burns significantly more calories per hour than walking does due to changing terrains and inclines, usually with a filled pack.
It improves bone density and osteoarthritis outcomes by working your whole body without major impact.
Trails are softer on joints than asphalt or concrete, making it ideal for people of all ages and weights.
Just one hour of trekking can burn 500 or so calories, depending on your route and what you’re carrying.
Hiking builds strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and muscles in your hips and lower legs.
Crossing uneven ground and using poles helps to strengthen your core and tone your arms.
If you can take to the hills or mountains then results are even better. You’ll be burning calories, working your heart and lungs and getting a great view to top it all off.
So cancel your upcoming shopping trip or boozy weekend and reach for your hiking boots instead.
Both your mind and body will reap the rewards long after you get home and put your feet up. And even better, you’ll have truly earned it!