Well… I can think of 10 reasons hiking is good for your soul and why you should start hiking today!
There’s a truckload of research out there telling us that hiking is good for us. As a form of exercise, there’s nothing like a brisk climb to get your heart rate up. Check out this great infographic.
Physically, the benefits are numerous. Getting outside for even a short hike regularly can reduce your risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and help to prevent type II diabetes.
Hiking makes you strong. And it doesn’t just work your legs.
Clambering over uneven surfaces and navigating your way around rocks, fallen trees, across streams and over tree roots engages your core and works your upper body for a true holistic work out.
But the physical benefits are almost incidental to how hiking can contribute to your overall mental health and wellbeing.
This isn’t a ‘get fit and lose weight in 30 days’ post. It’s 2018 people and it’s about time we focused on more than aesthetics. Health is more than cardio and strength conditioning, and our New Years resolution reflects that (hike more, worry less!). Here are ten reasons hiking is good for your soul and why your should start hiking.
1. Hiking clears the mind and reduces stress
Our lives are busier than ever. Nine to five jobs, full social calendars and everyday life admin is enough to keep us at a permanent level of stress below the surface. Going for a hike reduces your blood pressure and cortisol levels producing a calming effect only nature can offer – over an above the benefits of exercise alone.
2. Hiking makes us happier
Getting out into nature decreases what psychologists call ‘rumination’, which are negative thought patterns that play over and over in our heads such as dwelling on embarrassing or disappointing moments or thinking about everything we think is wrong with our lives. Never underestimate the ‘happiness effect’ of being outdoors.
3. Hiking improves sleep quality
Walking or climbing over uneven terrain uses 28% more energy than walking over flat ground. You are also removing all the new age stimuli that we often expose ourselves to throughout the day and right before bedtime (phones, computers, TV’s and the like). The result? Better sleep!
4. Improve your memory through hiking
Studies have shown that people who regularly spend time in natural settings, hiking or otherwise, have improved memory and recollection. So if you’re rubbish at sudoku like me, just grab your boots and hit the track!
5. Hiking reduces anxiety and depression
Associated with the benefits of lowering stress levels, hiking has been proven to reduce anxiety by quietening the mind and allowing you to zone in on your breathing to a part meditative state. For natural stress relief and an instant mood boost, head outdoors.
6. Got a problem to solve? Go for a hike
Researchers believe that all the extra mental stimulus and information bombardment we are faced with daily overwhelms our brains resulting in reductions in our cognitive resources, limiting our creativity and problem solving abilities. Getting out into nature away from these stimuli restores our depleted attention circuits, freeing up more brain power for creativity (so leave the gadgets at home!).
7. Hiking makes us more generous
Whenever we hike tracks or trails for the first time, or stumble upon an absolute gem of a natural feature, we always return home with a renewed appreciation for mother nature and her bounty. The corresponding increases in positive emotions actually makes us feel a heightened sense of gratefulness and increases our generosity towards those around us.
8. Reconnect and take time for yourself
When you find yourself caught up in the race, going for a hike is a chance to reflect, recharge and reconnect with yourself when you’ve been too busy to take notice. Sometimes just taking some time out and tuning into yourself can help you identify if you’re feeling a little under the weather or have been more stressed than usual.
9. Hiking with friends
Hiking alone can be a spiritual and rejuvenating experience, but hiking with friends and sharing the experience can bring you closer together to form stronger bonds and create lasting memories.
10. Learn to live in the moment
When was the last time you really concentrated on being truly present and in the moment? The beautiful simplicity of getting out into nature removes that barrier between you and the natural environment. Everything is up close and real. No filters, just nature.
More…. Beautiful reasons why you should go hiking
1. Doing Sport Is Always Beneficial
As everyone knows, doing sports is always good because it burns fats, shape your body and is beneficial for the cardiovascular system. If walking is good, hiking, although it is another way to walk, is much better than a walk. The more slope, the more kcal will burn.
2. Being In Touch With Nature
If you love nature, do not doubt that hiking is the perfect activity for you. You will be amazed by the natural life, full of natural walks and waterfalls. You will see leafy vegetation that will make you forget for a moment the bustle and the grey cement of the city. And you will breathe fresh air without the pollution of the industries and the exhaust pipes. Also, if you give enough attention surely you listen to the joyful song of a bird. And, hopefully, you may see some animals in the area.
3. Discover New Corners
Each route, each mountain and each path are different worlds. Discover the wonderful corners away from the view of the majority, that clear in the middle of the forest, that lonely rock that you will not hesitate to upload to take a photo. That little pond with crystalline waters that with some luck has fish. With each new excursion you will discover beautiful landscapes. Even repeating route, you will notice things that you had not seen or explore new corners and roads that will take you to new and wonderful sites.
4. It is a non-competitive activity
Apart from being a sport with all the benefits that it implies. Here there is no competition, rather the opposite, primacy of fellowship. The one who is in lesser form will make a small effort not to be left behind and the most impetuous will do everything so that nobody is left behind. Hiking is a great way to have a good time with friends or family. Also, is good for talk relaxed and bond with our loved ones.
5. You will meet new friends
As we said before, with the hiking you strengthen relationships with your own. But not only that, you also have the possibility of making new relationships with other hikers. If you are an extroverted person no doubt in many occasions in which you practice hiking to make new friends with other lovers of nature like you, take the opportunity to know your favourite routes and point them to travel in the future.
6. It is cheap
Maybe if you start hiking and do not have the necessary clothing and accessories, the initial investment can be high, especially if you start in winter and cold, because apart from the essentials you will need a scarf for the neck, a jacket with windbreaks and maybe more extras. But once the initial investment is made or if you live in a tropical country with nice weather, perhaps the biggest expense you have to make is the gasoline to go to the starting point of the excursion you want to do since if you buy clothes and footwear made specifically for outdoor sports, they are very durable material.
7. Psychological Benefits
Walking through nature and breathing clean air helps us to relax and get away from the stress of the city. Hiking helps you to forget all the problems, being highly recommended for people suffering from anxiety, stress or depression. Do not hesitate any longer, and when you feel overwhelmed, grab your mountain boots, grab your backpack, prepare a snack and go to a natural place to walk, disconnect and clear. Your health, your life and yourself will thank you.
So you know, for your next vacation grab your bag and get in touch with Imla Guest Farm