Many people get into the habit of regular exercise for the obvious physical benefits. We all would like a little extra definition while dropping those excess pounds that have slowly (or quickly) accumulated over the years. Of course there are bountiful mental health benefits associated with physical activity as well such as the release of feel-good endorphins that boost your mood and as well as improved sleep.
The best exercises however stress your physical abilities which in turn boosts your mental clarity. Bicycling is a great example of this but perhaps the activity with the best combination of physical and mental rewards is hiking. Going for a hike not only challenges your body, but being in touch with nature and enjoying some breathtaking views has only positive benefits for your mental well-being.
Here is why you should take up hiking immediately:
Less Crowded Fitness
We all strive to be healthy and in shape but let’s face it, gyms can be intimidating. Even the trails in your city might be polluted with people, pets, and bicycles. Hiking on the other hand is still a relatively unchartered activity. There is a certain amount of solitude and peacefulness on a hike that you simply can’t find anywhere else. Will you occasionally run into other hikers? Of course, but you can learn from their adventures and pick their brains for the best route.
Hiking makes you happier (mood boosting endorphins) and makes you more creative, able to sleep better, and staves off many illnesses. There are a multitude of benefits to all of these but perhaps most importantly hiking can help reduce your depression. People who are physically fit and active, especially outdoors tend to feel better about their lives and reap a number of rewards basically for free.
Makes Every Other Activity Easier
If you can hike, you can bike…and run…and walk…and just about every other fitness activity. A good hike is peaceful, but also very demanding. Once you’ve mastered the hills the gym, the local track, the trails, or the roadway should be no problem. Many people feel you should work your way up to hiking and it is very important to start slow. That being said, conquering hiking allows you to hit the gym or the local exercise joints without embarrassment.
Feel Rewards From Head to Toe, Inside and Out
Your head gets clearer, your cardiovascular system improves, you expand your heart health, and you build up your legs and core as just a fraction of the benefits you get from hiking. Once the initial bouts of soreness from using muscles that have been dormant for years wears off, your physical prowess will start to expand and accordingly so will your mental strength.
Hiking is great, even in small doses. It’s also addicting so you’ll find that these small doses no longer cures your adrenaline rush – which is a good thing as it’s on to bigger and better hiking adventures!