Hiking is a classic summer activity that offers a hearty dose of fun, adventure, and the great outdoors. It’s also a huge bonus for your mental and physical health.
Countless studies and research show the health benefits of regular exercise. Hiking is no exception, but the unique combination of nature and physical activity makes hiking a truly unique and enjoyable way to get moving.
Here are a few reasons to lace up a pair of hiking boots and hit the trails this summer.
Benefits of Hiking (At a Glance)
1 – It’s Low-Impact
Walking is one of the lowest impact activities you can do, meaning it doesn’t put a lot of strain on your joints and muscles. This is great if you have physical limitations that make it hard to do other, more strenuous activities.
2 – It Eases Stress, Anxiety and Depression
When you combine walking with the beautiful backdrop of nature, it releases both adrenaline and endorphins. Not only can hiking help ease muscle tension and reduce anxiety, but it can lift your spirits and renew your mindset.
3 – It Reduces Blood Pressure
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half of all U.S. adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension. That’s more than 100 million Americans. In fact, hypertension is known as the “silent killer.” Regular physical activity such as hiking can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for heart disease.
4 – It Strengthens Bones and Muscles
In addition to being a low-impact activity, hiking is also a weight-bearing exercise. That means that it requires your body to work against gravity since your bones and muscles must hold you upright. Hiking can increase your bone density, slow the rate of calcium loss, and help prevent future breaks or injuries.
5 – It’s Versatile
Don’t underestimate the power of hiking just because it involves walking, a low-impact exercise. You can bump up the intensity of any hike by increasing its duration or switching up elevation. To burn more calories and give your body a greater challenge, look for trails with various inclines and declines that will work different muscles and add some resistance to your hike.
Tips for Your Next Hike
Do you already plan to hit the trails this summer? Keep this in mind:
- Have water and nutrient-dense snacks on hand to sustain your energy.
- Bring a hiking buddy for your safety.
- Wear loose, breathable clothing for your comfort and to prevent overheating.
- Wear durable shoes with a lot of tread, support, and protection from hazards on the trail or harsh weather conditions.
- Bring the appropriate backpack. This will depend on the length of your hike, duration, and level of difficulty.
- Bring a first aid kit just in case.
Happy trail hunting!