“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Why even with all the battle with bug bites, blisters and bruises we still love hiking?
Nothing makes you feel more alive than overcoming a challenge while enjoying some quality time connecting with nature, hikes combine all that. But along with the snow-capped mountain tops and ocean views come an abundance of mental and physical perks.
How can you become happier and healthier hiking?
Hikers are creative.
Research shows that spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent. The results may have as much to do with unplugging from technology and spending time outside. This is a way of showing that interacting with nature has real, measurable benefits to creative problem-solving.
Plus, it’s not only the lack of technology and surplus of trees, sunshine and fresh air that contribute to this creativity boost in trail blazers, walking gets the creative juices flowing far more than sitting.
Hikers are seriously fit.
Hitting the trail works out your body as much as it does your brain. Just one hour of trekking can burn well over 500 calories, depending on the level of incline and the weight of the pack you’re carrying. Hiking is a great way to get a serious workout without putting too much pressure on your joints. Trails are often softer on joints than asphalt or concrete.
Plus, tramping through the trails on a regular basis decreases blood pressure and cholesterol. Logging cardio in the form of hiking can lower blood pressure by four to 10 points, and reduce the danger of heart disease, diabetes and strokes for those at high-risk. And don’t lose heart if you’re not out of breath on the way back. Both the ups and downs have benefits when it comes to lowering cholesterol, but hiking downhill is two times more effective at removing blood sugars and improving glucose tolerance.
Hikers are happier.
Research shows that using hiking as an additional therapy can help people with severe depression feel less hopeless, depressed and suicidal. It may even inspire those suffering from it to lead a more active lifestyle.
For those who don’t suffer from depression, hiking still offers mental benefits. Being out in nature, away from the business of our daily lives and technology, can allow people to connect with themselves and nature in a way that brings about peace and a sense of well-being.
Ben Nevis (Scotland) 2016
Outdoor sports make our lives healthier, happier and full of adventure, get out there and start hiking.