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7 Impressive Health Benefits of Hiking

benefits of hiking

Everybody is concerned with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but gyms can get old fast. Fortunately, there is an alternative: the outside world.

Hiking has many health benefits and is a fun activity you can enjoy with your friends. Who needs a gym membership when you've got clear skies, fresh air, and a trail to traverse?

Here are seven benefits of hiking to get you started...

1. Builds Essential Muscles

Surprising no one, going hiking helps you build muscles. While the activity is excellent for strengthening your leg muscles and glutes, it's actually a good whole body workout.

On sharp inclines, you may need to use trekking poles to go forward, and climbing over rocks and hills are all great for your arms. Maintaining a good hiking posture can also help strengthen your back and abs.

2. Trims the Fat

For anyone looking to shed a few pounds, hiking is also a great calorie burner. Not only will it make you sweat, but it's fun enough to bring you back time and time again.

3. Improves Mental Health

One of the health benefits of hiking is the opportunity to get out of the city for the day. Away from the noise and drama, you can breathe in clean air and stomp your worries into the dirt.

It's great for your mental health, and it'll even help with your working memory.

4. Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Going hiking gets your heart rate up, and like any muscle in your body, working it makes it stronger. Anything that works your heart is good for your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other related health factors.

The best thing about hiking is you can vary the hike based on your fitness level. There's a trail for you even if you can't handle some of the more strenuous options. That being said, no matter what trail you are taking, it's a good idea to pack an emergency blanket or two in case you find yourself needing to warm up all of a sudden en route, especially if you are hiking during the colder months of the year.

5. Strengthens Your Bones

One of the most important benefits of hiking is that it strengthens your bones, which can help you fight some of the side effects of aging. Since walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it increases your bone density which helps protect you from breakages.

6. Soak in the Vitamin D

Sunscreen is considered one of the twelve essentials for day hikes for good reason. You'll get a lot of sun exposure in the hours you spend outside.

That also means you'll be soaking in the vitamin D, which is great for your overall health because it helps your body retain calcium and phosphate for your bones and muscles.

7. Better Sleep

Finally, a day's hike almost always ends in a good night's rest. Hiking stimulates your body and mind and produces adrenaline, so when you get home your body will be crying for sleep.

You can thank nature after you wake up well-rested the next morning.

Get the Benefits of Hiking Today

Now that you know the benefits of hiking, you can now answer your friends when they ask, "Why do people hike?" And after a few trips yourself, you can even show them how to hike.

If this article was helpful you'll find Dr. Michael Graw's guide to the health benefits of mountaineering a very interesting read too.

For more personal growth resources, check out our other articles.

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