Surprising Health Benefits of Hiking

7 Surprising Health Benefits of Hiking

There are some people that don’t like the idea of sitting in a gym for an hour or so trying to get fit. They want to have some nice scenery and the fresh air to help them with their workouts. If you have some nice trails near to where you live, then you are in the perfect place to take up hiking. Not only is it a good way to get fit, but it also lets you see some of the amazing scenery outside your front door. Here are some of the other health benefits from hiking that you might not know.

7 Surprising Health Benefits of Hiking

Increases Your Fitness

I guess this is obvious, but you might be surprised just how much fitter hiking can make you. Only one hour of trekking can burn up to 500 calories depending on the incline and the weight you are carrying. As most people take at least two hours, you can see that it can be good for your calorie intake. As well as burning calories, trekking also works your cardiovascular system, especially when going up a gradient. Although this will be difficult at first, the more you do it, the better you will feel until it won’t be so troublesome at all. That is when its time to find a bigger hill.

It is Easy on the Joints

If you suffer from damaged knees, then you will be limited to the types of workout you can do. However, hiking can be a good way to get your legs fitter so that they can provide better support for your knees. Many trails are better for your knees than walking on the tarmac because the earth gives a little as you walk. It is also a good idea to carry a hiking stick with you for support, especially on uneven terrain. However, it is important that you remain on the trails and don’t be tempted to wander off the path. Not only could you hurt yourself on concealed objects, but you also risk encountering dangerous creatures and ticks. This is something to consider with hiking, as you may encounter unwanted pests along the way, so make sure you pack a spray with you that deters unwanted bugs from biting you. Ticks, in particular, can carry diseases such as Lyme disease which you can read more about online. Being prepared for anything is important with any exercise you carry out.

Take Control of Your Workouts

When you are in control of your own workouts, you can easily tailor your regime so that you can do more when you feel good, and less when not. Although some might think its an easy way out, trekking itself will give you the encouragement you need to keep going. As you walk along, you will probably see a ridge or a clearing that you want to explore. That will give you the determination to carry on or to get there the next time to hike. Another benefit of choosing your own workouts is that you can start slowly and work up. When you first start hiking, you will be slow and tired at the end, only partake ina short trail. You can then expand the distance as you get fitter.

Tones Up the Body

Regular walking and hiking can have other benefits to your body as well as your heart. You can also tone up your body, especially if you are going up and down gradients. If you are on a trail that also includes climbing rocks, then your whole body will become toned. It is important that you ensure you are correctly warmed up before you go trekking. With this type of exercise, you can easily pull a muscle or hurt your joints if your body isn’t prepared. That is why safety is so vital when hiking; someone should always know where you are going and when you are expected back. That way, if you get lost or hurt, someone will know and come to find you.

Can Help Control or Prevent Diabetes

If you are carrying a little extra weight and you are worried about diseases such as diabetes, then trekking can be a good all-round exercise for you. When you start trekking, the calories you burn and the workout you get will help you to lose weight and tone your body. Along with this, it also helps to lower your blood sugar levels, so you are at less risk of diabetes. Your muscles will also be burning more sugar from the workout which will also be controlling your blood sugar.

It Can Aid Healing

There has been some research that suggests the physical benefits of hiking extend beyond cardiovascular health. The study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine showed that those who do long distance hiking had increased antioxidative capacity. It is this capacity that can help people recover from diseases such as cancer and also other diseases of the blood. Another study showed that breast cancer survivors who exercised regularly thought that it helped their recovery.

Aid Mental Health Problems

There have been many studies over the years that show the benefits of exercise on the mind. Not only can it reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, but it can also help with improving a low mood. You might think that despite this, trekking can be a solitary pastime, but, that’s not how it has to be. There are many walking clubs all over the country that can help you meet up with other walkers to hit the trails together. You can then share the views and make new friends at the same time. It can also be a great way to help others get out if they have been suffering from depression or low mood. Once they have spent a couple of days out walking, they will realize the benefits.

These are just a few of the many ways hiking can help you. Other benefits are that it can increase your creativity, help you become in touch with the natural world, and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Even if you only go hiking once a week, you can still find the exercise will help you fight off many illnesses and get you, fitter.

Funny Hiking Cartoon

• Meet the Author • Dr. Lawrence Kindo

I am a Medical Professional with a passion for writing, blogging, playing, computers, and of course patient care. My writing in this medical blog will reflect my passion, and you are welcome to be a part of this venture. This medical blog is a tribute to all the great medical pioneers, and to the ultimate source of wisdom, God.

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