Hike Your Way to Health: Benefits for the Mind, Body, & Spirit

Creating a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable for you & your life is crucial to longevity. If you hate the exercise you are doing, you are much less likely to stick to it.

You should enjoy the workouts & activity you do. Hiking is one of the most enjoyable, satisfying ways to be active & lift your spirits.

There are so many great benefits to this activity I had to share them. So, if you’re struggling to get active this new year, this just may be for you.

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improved heart health

As much as people hate cardio, it is vital for a healthy heart. Hiking is an enjoyable way to get in your cardio.

Consistently performing cardio drastically lowers your risk of heart disease.

Hiking has also been shown to lower your risk of stroke & high cholesterol.

improved mental health

Hiking combines two of the most effective, natural stress-relievers: exercise & nature.

Studies show that spending time in nature can ease stress levels & uplift the spirit. Other studies have shown that walking 1 1/2 hours outdoors can decrease your risk for mental illness.

It also gives you the perfect opportunity to unplug for work, social media, the internet, or any other mentally-draining distractions you have.

It gives you an opportunity to refocus, re-center, regenerate, & re-connect with nature and friends.

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muscle activation

Hiking isn’t just a great form of cardio, it also requires a wide range of muscle activation. It works muscles in the body that can be difficult to target in the gym.

As you walk at an incline, you naturally activate many different muscles in the lower body & core. If you go for a hike, prepare for you hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, obliques, hip & back muscles to be sore the next morning.

I used to think hiking was a relaxed form of exercise (and it can be depending on location), but it exhausts your muscles. It is a phenomenal workout.

This is a perfect way to take a break from the gym, get some fresh air, and take advantage of “nature bathing.”

other benefits

Other benefits of hiking can include:

  • increased Vitamin D levels
  • improved sleep
  • improved balance
  • improved bone density
  • improved memory

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