Looking for a reason to hit the trails? Hiking sounds fun, a lot of people do it, but how do you know if it is right for you?
You know that being out-of-doors puts you at risk of bug bites, blisters, encounters with wildlife, including snakes. Maybe that presents more of a challenge to overcome than you might like. But let’s look at the benefits of going hiking and see if they might convince you to try it as a new favorite activity.
Improving Creativity. People who walk or hike in nature have been proven to be far more creative in their approach to problems than other people. Research has shown that spending time outdoors increases our attention span as well as our creative problem solving skills by as much as fifty percent. It’s very possible that when going hiking, we tend to “unplug” from the world. We might have our smartphone with us, but we don’t pull it out and check email or text messages as we hike. The proven benefits of interacting with nature and our creative problem solving skills should be enough to persuade you to give it a try. Moving is more inspirational than sitting in place.
Improving Fitness. It is hard to hike any length of time unless you have worked at improving your overall physical fitness. A single hour of hiking can burn up to 500 calories per hour. It’s a great way to work out and not put too much pressure on our joints. Dirt and hiking trails are much easier on our joints than concrete or blacktop. When hiking up and down hills, you might even see unexpected weight loss benefits as well. You can also expect to see improvements in both your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. The up and down movement of hiking is also a huge benefit for those who are working to balance their blood sugars and their insulin response.
Improved Level of Happiness. Hiking has been shown to help people suffering from depression or even those having suicidal thoughts. Being in nature allows people to connect with nature and themselves in a way that brings about a greater sense of peace and well-being.
Start small when taking up hiking. You can start by tackling a small hill in a pair of sneakers in your own back yard by hiking locally. But as you build endurance and have bigger hills and mountains in your future, you’ll want to get a very comfortable pair of hiking boots to protect feet and ankles from turns and twists.