Most of us know that in order to be at our healthiest, we need to incorporate exercise into our lifestyles. The problem is that we were not all designed to simply work out mindlessly in a gym crammed full of other sweaty folks. We were designed to explore the earth, and to benefit from its abundance of versatility.
One of the best ways to do that (the exploring part) is by hiking, and if you thought that you couldn’t benefit from the activity, get ready to have your mind blown!
Why Hiking Is Good For You
Nobody sees hiking as a full-on workout, but the reality is that the outdoor activity offers you a pleasurable way to increase your activity level and boost your overall health.
Don’t believe us? Well, here are a few proven ways that hiking benefits your fitness levels and overall good health.
Hiking Boosts Your Health
Exercising on a regular basis may help prolong your life, and since hiking is done outdoors, you’ll also benefit from the calming effect it’ll have on you with all the beautiful scenery as part of the package. You can hike without bringing any gear, but we would suggest you bring some snacks and water in order to stay healthy on the trail. Bring along a light weight backpack and put all of your healthy snacks and water in it so it doesn’t bog you down!
It May Ward Off Heart Disease!
For your cardiovascular system to stay in prime condition (which is how you’ll avoid heart disease), you need to do moderately intense physical exercises on a regular, weekly basis. By hiking as part of your exercise routine, you’ll be lowering your triglyceride levels and boosting your lipoprotein levels, which may help eliminate the risk of a stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
You May Be Able to Manage Your Diabetes
If you’re a diabetes patient and have been looking at ways to manage your condition, hiking might be the answer. By converting glucose in the blood into energy and by also lowering your blood sugar, hiking on a regular basis may help manage (and even prevent) diabetes.
Regular Hikes May Boost Overall Energy Levels
Hiking, just like any other aerobic exercise, may help promote oxygen flow in the body. This, in turn, provides your muscles with more fuel and also boosts the performance of all other major organs. With more oxygen inside your system, your body gets an energy boost which may help you build up endurance and a higher overall energy level.
Hiking Burns A LOT of Calories
Hiking as part of your exercise regime is a great way to keep your weight under control or shed a few pounds when needed. If you’re an average person that weighs roughly 150-170 pounds, you’ll burn about 240 calories per hour by following a slow and steady pace of 2 miles per hour. 30 minutes a day can easily and effectively help you tip the scales in your favor!
Osteoporosis and Arthritis Can Be Combatted by Hiking
Arthritis and osteoporosis are two very debilitating conditions, but the good news is that hiking on a regular basis may help combat and even reduce your risk of contracting these diseases. Hiking is a great exercise that will help you develop denser bones and also slow down the rate at which your bones weaken. Hiking also keeps the joints flexible and may help combat joint stiffness. However, if you do not have the right footwear, you may find these conditions might get worse. This is why we recommend looking into either trail running shoes or light weight hikers if you are planning on hiking a decent amount.
You’ll Feel Better Too
There’s nothing quite as relaxing and rejuvenating as a hike through a pristine landscape. Hiking may effectively help you deal with stress and just regroup, giving you the time you need to reflect and refocus. Hiking for roughly 90 minutes may help fight off depression and can have amazing benefits on the nervous system.
Hiking Also Promotes Better Shut-Eye
When you’re out walking, you’re soaking up the goodness of sunlight, Vitamin D. We need the big D to ensure our bones and muscles are healthy and strong.
As you can see, there are plenty of perfectly good reasons why you should start incorporating hiking into exercise regime. From building muscle strength to building your endurance levels and improving your cardiovascular health, hiking is so much more than just a walk out in the woods.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading this post and it has somehow inspired you to shift things up a gear and start trying out this idea for yourself – we promise you’ll never look back
About The Author
I’m Eric, and I’m the Editor in Chief of True North Athletics. I’m also an avid adventurer, digital nomad and traveler. I enjoy all types of outdoor sports, a good golf tan, and spontaneous weekend trips. I currently live in Brazil where I can be found frequently hiking the rain forest around my city!