From building stronger bones to increasing your overall happiness, there are several physical and mental benefits to hiking as a form of exercise. Here's our favourite reasons why we think you should get outdoors and go on a hike right now!
Delays dementia and improves memory
Dementia is caused by shrinkage of brain. Studies have shown that older adults who walk an average of one mile per day maintain or increase in brain size, which reduces their chances of developing dementia. We would suggest developing a habit of walking before reaching 65 years old, as dementia affects a significant portion of older adults aged 65 and above.
Decreases anxiety and stress
For mild cases of depression, a brisk walk or hike releases endorphins which enable you to feel better and reduce stress. Studies have shown that walking or hiking in nature for at least 50min improves your mood and alleviates anxiety levels.
Weight loss and toning
As a total body workout, you'll find yourself burning more calories than you would on a regular walk. Using trekking poles helps you work out your arms, and your core, thighs, and calves will be consistently engaged to help you balance on trickier terrain while hiking as compared to a flat road.
Doctors, physiotherapists and fitness trainers always recommend weight-bearing exercises to build stronger bones. Hiking in particular helps you achieve that as you would be carrying a large bag of supplies as a weight. From the additional weight of the bag, your bones would need to adapt and become stronger, thus helping you maintain good bone density even as you age.
Improve cardiovascular health
By walking and hiking regularly, you can reduce the risk of heart disease since a good cardio workout helps you lower your bad cholestoral levels while at the same time increasing your good cholestoral levels! Studies have shown that even a 30min brisk walk every day helps to control high blood pressure levels, which would reduce the chances of stroke.
Ready to go on your first walking/hiking adventure? Check out some trails worth walking in this post!