Next time someone says 'take a hike' maybe you should take them up on it – they could be saving your life! Although we could have written an entire novel on the subject, here are 7 benefits of hiking.
The Frou Frou
1. Those views though: hiking will definitely put nature into perspective. If you're not one to get out into the wild very often, than hiking should be your first step (no pun intended). When you realize how vast the forest can be, or how strong the winds can be on an exposed ridge, you get a new sense of being. On top of that, just think about how on point your Instagram will be after reaching the summit.
2. Fresh air is the best air: we've all grown up learning that trees breathe in CO2 and breathe out oxygen. If you have never gotten out of the city, and deep into the forest, you really don't know what fresh air is.
3. The sounds can be mesmerizing: most of us walk through the city and drown out the sound of the cars, strangers, transit, etc. Or just plug in our headphones and listen to music. In nature, the silence can truly be aw-inspiring. Listen to the different birds, and animals, and engage your senses. It will make you feel connected.
4. Increase leg strength: if you've ever been on a hike before, this one should be obvious. The constant pushing and stepping up, or keeping your quads active to stay strong on the way back down will have your legs screaming! If you're a runner, this could be a nice change from your regular strength training regime:
5. Increase your core stability: the slower pace allows your body the time to activate muscles that it normally wouldn't engage while on a run. Pushing and pulling yourself up the mountain, using roots, rocks, ropes etc. require your core to keep you upright. See: 8 Lacing Techniques For Your Foot Type
6. Strengthen your stabilizers: hiking (or even running) on uneven terrain is a great way to not only get over the mundane walk to work, but it gets you moving laterally – activating your ankles and legs to stabilize your self while you find your footings along the trail.
7. The other other red meat: besides being amazing for your muscles and mind, hiking can also really benefit the parts of your body you may not think of:
- Improved cardio-respiratory fitness (heart, lungs, blood vessels)
- Lower risk of high cholesterol, colon/lung/breast cancer
- Lower your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Weight control; a good hike can burn up to 370 calories an hour
Whether you're looking for a break from your training, a new form of mental stimulation, or just a good calorie burning day out, the benefits far outweigh the screaming muscles. So get out there, have fun, stay safe, tread lightly, and always #KeepGoing