On the one hand, hiking is much harder than it seems – it’s not exactly the same as taking a walk, and on the other, it’s one of the most effective and gentlest forms of exercise. However, not only will your physical appearance change with hiking – so will your mental state.
Hiking comes with numerous benefits; for those of you who are unfamiliar with how beneficial this hobby can be, the following seven reasons might catch your attention.
Makes Your Core Strong
Backpackers and hikers have an incredibly powerful core. Unlike the regulated conditions that gym admirers face, hikers have to be ready for unexpected conditions, such as unfamiliar terrain, rain, and winds, while they are carrying their equipment with them.
The weight of that equipment changes during the hike itself – food and fluids get used – which only means that hikers once again have to adjust their movement to newfound conditions.
For these reasons, the core of their body gets stronger. For new hikers, carrying a heavy backpack will be a troublesome process, but if you truly pick up this hobby, you’ll be able to straighten your entire body.
Improves Your Balance
We all have a person in our friend/family group that is prone to losing their balance, falling, and experiencing constant injuries. These people are often frustrated because they are unable to make a difference and make peace with their clumsiness.
To a layman, hiking may seem like a long walk. However, each hiking route comes with its surprises – no matter how good of a hiker you are, it’s mandatory to stay alert with every step because the terrain can always surprise you, even if it’s a familiar one.
Because the human body is built to adjust to changes, you’re able to quickly respond to terrain changes and use your balance to stay in a vertical position. Naturally, if you want to develop these skills on an enviable level, you will need time, but you’ll notice the first changes even after your first hiking trip.
Blood Sugar & Blood Pressure
Whenever your heart beats just a bit faster – when you’re in a hurry to catch a bus and when you’re hiking – your muscles need more energy to keep your heart pumping. In that situation, muscles need to burn additional amounts of sugar – glucose, to be precise.
If you turn hiking into a habit, and if you’re muscles are constantly in need of increased sugar amounts, your blood sugar levels will decrease.
On the other hand, if you have issues with blood pressure, you can solve them as well by walking on an incline, just to make things interesting. With only half an hour of walking, five times per week, you can regulate your blood pressure and keep potential heart diseases at bay.
Hiking is an indirect form of exercise. Unlike running or gym exercising, hiking doesn’t require from you to place your focus on the workout itself – it’s quite the contrary. Although hiking requires all your muscle groups, it does so in a gentle manner – while you’re enjoying the view during the incline or sharing a pleasant conversation.
Bone density becomes an issue when we start getting older and finally experience how fragile our body can be. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do everything in your power to keep your entire body strong and vital.
Through hiking, you can even increase your bone density. Your bones get stronger because you’re walking under the weight of your equipment. The more you carry, the stronger the bones.
However, it’s more than necessary to practice proper nutrition if you want to straighten your bones, so that you can avoid minor and more severe injuries. Regular intake of calcium, magnesium, and potassium is quite necessary if you want to level-up your hiking game.
Did you know that hiking makes you happier? Nature is a powerful reliever, which is why anyone who has problems with depression needs to turn to this source of serenity.
Without devices, all the heftiness in the office, traffic jams, and the constant, terrible noise, you’ll be able to connect with yourself while being surrounded with gifts of Mother Nature.
Ironically enough, the age of technology made communication far simpler than anyone imagined, but it’s much harder for people to make social contacts today than ever before. Hiking with groups is an old, natural way to participate in a casual conversation and connect with the people around you.
Only one hour of hiking will get you rid of around 500 calories. Naturally, this number depends on several factors, like the severity of your incline, and the weight of your hiking equipment.
Unlike running, which is a very effective way to get rid of extra weight, with hiking, you’ll be doing it in a safer manner – there won’t be as much pressure on your joints. If you jog in a city environment, which usually comes with a concrete surface, you should know that it will weaken your joints in time instead of strengthening them.
Interestingly enough, altitude plays a role in weight management – hiking lowers your appetite. According to a study, hiking will leave you without cravings even a month after your field trip.
Finally, you can’t know if you’re a hiker if you don’t try. You need to get yourself out there, reach out to the nearest hiking community, and learn about the benefits of hiking first-hand. It’s far better than reading about it in an article.