Hiking is a fantastic way to get outside, explore nature, and get some exercise. In years, past I ran on local trails and something shifted in the last 6 months that led me to walk and hike the trails instead. I don’t hate it because I’ve been able to reap the benefits – and since health is a big focus for me, I thought I share more about it.
So let’s talk about it!
Improves physical health
Hiking is a great way to get in some cardio exercise and improve your overall physical health. It can help improve your cardiovascular health, lower your blood pressure, and boost your metabolism. Additionally, it can help build strength in your legs, core, and upper body. And I am beginning to see and notice some of the changes as I am more intentional about my hikes.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Hiking provides an opportunity to disconnect from the stressors of everyday life and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. The peaceful surroundings, fresh air, and physical activity can all contribute to a more relaxed and peaceful state of mind. There are plenty of trails that don’t have cell connection which can feel frustrating at first but not being connected and focused on the trails is so good.
Boosts mental health
Hiking can also help boost your overall mental health. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can improve mood, increase creativity, and even help alleviate symptoms of depression. My imagination runs a bit wild when I see big tree roots or just the trunk on the trees on how they could be fairy houses or how a tree that grew sideways is a portal – creativity is a good thing!
Promotes social connection
Hiking can be a great way to connect with others and build social connections. Whether you’re hiking with friends or joining a hiking group, it provides an opportunity to bond over a shared interest and spend time in nature together.
Provides a sense of accomplishment
Hiking can be a challenging activity, especially if you’re tackling a particularly steep or difficult trail. However, reaching the summit or completing a challenging hike can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-confidence. I am looking forward to going on a 13-mile trail hike that according to the reviews should take about 7 hours.
Spending time in nature and getting exercise can also help improve sleep quality. Hiking can help regulate your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. On the days I do hike at least 4 miles, I do notice that I am adequately tired and get a solid night’s sleep.
Offers a low-cost form of exercise
Hiking is a relatively low-cost activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Unlike some other forms of exercise, it doesn’t require a gym membership or expensive equipment. All you need is a good pair of hiking shoes and a sense of adventure! And if you happen to live near the Blue Ridge Mountains there are plenty of trails just waiting on you.
Hiking offers numerous physical and mental health benefits and is a great way to connect with nature and others. So why not lace up your hiking shoes and hit the trails today? Your mind and body will thank you for it!