Outdoor hiking is the most underrated form of exercise. It is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, and it can also help to strengthen your muscles and bones. Additionally, hiking can help improve your mental health by reducing stress and anxiety levels.
Here are some of the top health benefits of outdoor hiking:
1. Improved cardiovascular health – Outdoor hiking can help to improve your cardiovascular health by helping to increase your heart rate and improving blood circulation. Hiking can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
2. Stronger muscles and bones – Hiking can also help to strengthen your muscles and bones. The resistance provided by walking up hills and over uneven terrain helps to build muscle mass, while the impact on your joints helps to keep them healthy and strong.
3. Reduced stress and anxiety – Hiking can be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety levels. The fresh air and natural surroundings can help to clear your mind and improve your mood. Additionally, the exercise released endorphins, which have been shown to help improve mood and reduce stress levels.
4. Improved mental health – Hiking can also help improve your mental health. Physical activity can help to increase brain function and lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Hiking can help improve sleep quality, which is important for overall mental health.
5. Weight loss – Outdoor hiking is a great way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. The calories burned during hiking can help to promote weight loss, and the added resistance from walking uphill can help to tone your muscles.
6. Improve Balance – Hiking can also help improve your balance. The uneven terrain and obstacles you encounter while hiking force you to use different muscles to maintain your balance. This can help to prevent falls and improve your overall balance.
7. Lower risk of chronic diseases – Regular outdoor hiking can also help to lower your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. The exercise and healthy lifestyle associated with hiking can help to reduce your risk of developing these chronic diseases.
8. Improved immune system – Hiking can also help to improve your immune system. Exposure to fresh air and different types of bacteria can help to strengthen your immune system. They can help to improve your mood and reduce stress levels, which can also boost your immune system.
10. Unplug for a while – One of the best things about hiking is that it allows you to unplug from technology and clear your mind. Being in nature and disconnecting from the outside world can help to improve your mental health and overall well-being.
There are few activities that offer as many health benefits as outdoor hiking. If you are looking for a way to improve your physical and mental health, outdoor hiking is a great option. Be sure to start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty of your hikes as you become more fit. And, always hike with a friend or family member for safety.