Hiking is a year-round favorite hobby for many people, and for some, it is a lifelong adventure. Hiking is a means to detach and reconnect to the earth, whether it’s ascending the world’s greatest mountains or simply taking in the pure air of the hills in your backyard. Hiking has several advantages, including being a form of exercise and a healthy alternative to day drinking. Here are numerous compelling reasons to be outside, ranging from decreasing anxiety to teaching us survival skills.
It keeps your mind sharp
Hiking incorporates a feature that few other types of exercise do: trails. As a result, it necessitates navigating in an environment that isn’t entirely predictable. All of the things you might encounter on a trail require micro- and macro-adjustments to your route, which is good for your brain. Slippery terrains, overhanging branches and hidden obstacles, trail markers, and wild animals crossing your path—all of these things require micro- and macro-adjustments to your route, which is good for your brain.
Hiking, as Daniel Levitin describes in his book Successful Aging, strengthens the parts of your brain that help you navigate through life—for example, the restrosplenial cortex and the hippocampus, which also helps with memory—which is why hiking not only benefits your heart, but also your mind!
It keeps your heart healthy
Hiking lowers harmful cholesterol levels while raising good cholesterol levels. Exercise can help enhance blood circulation, lower blood pressure, improve heart function, and lower the chance of getting diabetes. Moderate to high intensity aerobic activity, such as climbing uphill or carrying a large backpack, can boost the benefit.
Hiking also has advantages over typical cardio in that it decreases stress while also boosting our mood. By combining all of these benefits, our chance of an immediate heart attack is considerably reduced if we hike on a regular basis.
It helps to beat anxiety
Hiking helps us keep concentrated and focused in real-time, whether we’re on level ground or on a mountainous stretch. After all, if you’re focused solely on being safe, you won’t have much time to think about what occurred a week ago or the important meeting you have coming up. Because many individuals suffer from anxiety and find it difficult to let go and enjoy life, being immersed in nature may quickly soothe us as we tune in to what’s going on around us.
Using all of your senses when hiking is one method to achieve this. Consider how the fresh air feels against your face, the sound of the leaves rustling, and other sensory details.
Hike your way to better overall health
The evidence is clear: Hiking is a means to detach and reconnect to the earth, whether it’s ascending the world’s greatest mountains or simply taking in the pure air of the hills in your backyard.