We are all concerned about our health and keeping ourselves strong and healthy so that we can live long and happy lives. But the reality is that the United States has a horrible obesity rate, and it continues to rise.
You can read the disturbing facts about U.S. obesity rates and quickly see that’s it’s a huge problem. Needless the say, it is going to be even more challenging in the years to come.
Most people who try to lose weight think that they have to get put on strict diets and go to the gym five days week and seem to defeat themselves before they even get started.
The key to fitness and health is to get moving! Do things you love. Take a walk every day. Or better, take a hike, literally! Hiking can be one of the most wonderful experiences and gets you out of the everyday grind of the normal city life.
Below you can find the ten health benefits that hiking can have on your mental and physical well-being.
1. Helps Lose Weight
Losing weight can be hard. But when you get out of the house and get to the mountains, you will be doing something fun. It won’t seem like such work.
You will be surprised if you are in a place where you can get out and hike every weekend, it is a healthy, calorie-burning activity, weight shedding exercise.
One of the biggest reasons people fail at their weight loss goals is they simply don’t enjoy the process of eating healthy, having to go to the gym, and essentially changing their unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one.
2. Good for Mental Health
We all work hard throughout the week and constantly have the stresses of work, money, possibly kids, spouses, etc. that keep us up at night. It is continuous stress that causes health problems.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can cause things like headaches, fatigue, stomach upset, and sleeping problems. They go on to talk about how regular physical activity can help with stress.
Therefore, hiking is a perfect way to get away from it all and relax your mind and get some peaceful time maybe to yourself or even with a friend. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time for yourself.
Having mental clarity is vital to doing well in other areas of your life. Hiking is just one physical form of exercise that will help you to clear your head and enjoy nature and remember what life is all about.
3. Good For The Heart
Hiking gets your heartbeat up. Remember, your heart is a muscle like any other muscle in your body. It needs to be “worked out,” just like your biceps to get strong and remain strong.
Any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and helps increase your cardiovascular health is good for your heart. As a matter of fact, you can find several good-for-your-heart reasons to go hiking by reading this article by Healthline titled, “What Are The Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise?”
The great thing about hiking is that whether you are out of shape or fit as a fiddle, you can vary how strenuous of a hike you want to go on.
Check out some great hiking apps here. It will help you find some wonderful trails and hikes to go on wherever you are located.
4. Helps Build Leg Muscles
Helping build leg muscles is one of my favorite reasons to lace up my hiking shoes and hit the trails.
I’m lucky because I live only a few hours from Yosemite National Park, so hiking is second-nature to me. But the leg workout that you get from hiking is like nothing you will ever get unless you are at the gym doing squats.
Trust me, you will definitely feel the “burn” during your hiking, but after the next day as well. That’s a good sign of a great leg workout.
5. Helps Diabetes
Walking has always been one of the most recommended physical activities for people with diabetes. The reason for this is that according to Very Well Health, it’s highly effective and controlling blood-glucose levels.
Hiking is just another form of walking, but with a little more strength required due to the elevation possibly and the steepness of the terrain.
Either way, controlling diabetes starts with eating well and being more physically active.
6. Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Having a better handle on your cardiovascular health can also help manage the symptoms of high blood pressure. An article by Healthline talks about aiming to get 150 minutes of physical exercise every week.
Hiking is a great example of physical activity and can help you with managing your hypertension.
7. Hiking Can Be Social
One of the best things about hiking is that you take off with a friend or a significant other and leave the world behind. You can also go with a bigger group of people and create an event around it.
One of the best websites to go is to Meetup.com. Check out and see if there is a hiking group in your local area.
Join the group, get out and nature, and make new friends with people who have the same interests as you do.
8. Boosts Your Bone Density Therefore Reducing Falls
As we age, our bone density weakens and makes us more prone to falls and broken bones.
One of the great benefits of hiking is that it helps to increase your bone density since walking is a weight-bearing exercise, according to an article by WebMD.
It’s been well documented that seniors breaking their hips leads to a higher mortality rate. Therefore, it is vital that you establish good physical fitness habits while you are younger so that your bones stay strong. Whether you enjoy hiking by yourself or with friends, know that you are doing your bones a great favor in the long run.
9. Increased Mood
It never ceases to amaze me what the power of physical exercise does. And increased mood enhancement is another one of those positive effects of keeping your body active.
There was a study done by the British Journal of Medicine that showed the positive effects of physical exercise in a patient with depression.
10. Opens Your World To New Experiences
I’ve been lucky enough in my life to see some wonderful places in the United States where I live and travel all around the world. Every time I go, I go for one reason – to get out and find new experiences and adventures.
Hiking allows you to have some pretty amazing experiences where you don’t have to travel too far from your own town. Getting out in nature and experiencing new sites and sounds is always something that I look forward to doing.
Hiking is a fantastic form of exercise and as you can guess, any kind of exercise that you has wonderful health benefits. If you’ve never thought about hiking, I highly recommend you try it out.
You don’t have to buy a bunch of hiking supplies, although depending on how strenuous the hike is you may want to prepare a little more, but for most mild hikes you can just lace up your tennis shoes and hit the trail!
About the Author
Jenny Travens is a creative writer who has many passions and interests. Health and wellness is one area where she likes to contribute as much as she can. She is currently a contributing writer to Meddentsafety & other top blogs. Twitter – @jennytravens