Sometimes, you need a little bit more adventure than a neighborhood walk can offer. Whether you want to try a local trail or discover a mountain path, hiking serves as a wonderful way to stay fit. You can experience unique sights all while you complete an intense, full-body workout. Ultimately, not much compares to that outdoor experience.
Here’s a look at how hiking can improve your health:
1. Supports Cardiovascular Fitness
When you navigate a steep area with several obstacles, your heart needs to work a little harder than usual. Additionally, your lungs, muscles and bloodstream have to come together to make sure your body uses oxygen properly. As you exercise over time, your heart grows stronger. You can enjoy a reduced chance of cardiovascular disease — plus several brain-related benefits, especially for older individuals.
You should always choose a route that allows for a few personal challenges. Try not to push yourself too hard, but don’t take the easy way out, either!
2. Boosts Mental Wellness
Many of us don’t spend enough time outdoors. With so much technology at our fingertips, we miss opportunities to connect with nature. It’s important to venture outside for your physical strength — and your mental health, too. If you feel worried, anxious or stressed, a nature walk can help you ground yourself. As a result, you become a happier person.
When you listen to the different sounds of nature and see many peaceful colors, your mind calms down. Therefore, you may want to go on a hike to relieve those negative emotions.
3. Increases Vein Circulation
As we age, our bodies change accordingly. For women, this development may lead to varicose veins — dark, purple-toned veins that look like thick cords. For the most part, these veins don’t cause any issues other than cosmetic concerns. That said, it’s not unlikely for people to experience painful symptoms. However, certain physical fitness routines, plus other treatments, can improve circulation.
If you have varicose veins, hiking may help your problem. Of course, it’s always essential to speak with a doctor before you make health-related decisions.
4. Builds Balance
Many people who suffer from balance issues can benefit from hiking. It’s uncommon to find a straight, clear path — unless you seek out one specifically. Therefore, you may need to work through some difficult obstacles to reach the end of a trail. These elements can help you build balance. You can use hiking or trekking poles to make the experience more comfortable, too.
Make sure to wear a trusty pair of boots so you can maintain a better grip on the ground.
5. Burns Tons of Calories
A hike can be an effective way to lose weight. Even if you aren’t concerned about this part of your health, it may surprise you to know this activity can burn hundreds of calories. The longer the hike, the better. A 160-pound person can shed nearly 500 calories when they hike for an hour. When compared to other exercises, this one isn’t so bad.
After all, you can enjoy the gorgeous sights as you achieve your fitness goals.
Enjoy an Outdoor Walk for Increased Wellness
You don’t need to be an expert adventurer to enjoy hiking and its advantages. You can experience positive health-related benefits when you explore the outdoors — so strap on your best walking shoes.
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington