Hiking may be difficult for people who aren’t fond of any strenuous physical activity, but once in a while, it’s good to engage in something outside of our comfort zone. If you’ve been a couch potato for a while now, you may want to go out for an adventure soon, and hiking could just be what your body needs.
The earth is filled with mountainous sites open for hiking and if you’re a beginner, you can find trails suitable for you. The beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and amazing views from the peak could motivate you to appreciate hiking more. If you have the time and budget, you can go hiking in the mountains of Switzerland or other countries and enjoy the majestic scenery.
Here’s why you should engage in this wonderful activity:
The Health Benefits
Many of us tend to skip exercising, especially if we’re burdened every day by other important duties such as work. With hiking, you can get that exercise long overdue, and you can have fun while doing it. According to research from the University of Florida, walking on uneven terrains, such as hiking trails, drives the body to use 28% more energy. This is because your legs need to shift frequently during a hike.
Hiking burns a great number of calories, helping you lose weight. On average, 300-400 calories are burned from a moderate hike, but this can increase depending on your speed, the terrain you’re walking on, and the weight of your pack. Simply put, the more difficult the trail is and the heavier your pack is, the more calories you’d burn.
You can also reduce your risks of heart disease with hiking. It improves cardiovascular performance, which is key to having a healthy heart. Hiking also increases your endurance and tones your muscles. Your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves will all be exercised as you hike, especially downhill. The effects would be similar to using a stairclimber at the gym and lowering weights.
Apart from your physical health, your mental health will also benefit from hiking. Studies show that outdoor exercising and being close to nature stirs positive feelings and thoughts, and calms the portion of the brain linked to mental illnesses. Doctor and wilderness educator Doug Diekema says spending time in the wilderness also increases attention span, improves problem-solving skills, and allows reconnection to the self and to others.
Hiking is a Chance to Experience the World
Without the distraction of computers and everything else digital, we can authentically experience the world. It’s an opportunity to step away from your hectic duties and be one with nature. You can see the world directly without filters. Your senses will be stimulated organically from all the beautiful sights, earthy smells, hums of the wildlife beings, and so on.
Hiking is the ultimate recreational activity without the hefty price. A good pair of high-quality hiking boots, proper clothing (polyester, nylon, or merino wool), and a comfortable backpack are everything you need.
If you have a family, you can take them with you as well. There are hiking trails that are safe for children and older adults. It’s a chance to spend time with your family in a different and refreshing environment.
Hiking is definitely worth it. It’s an experience that will stay with you even if you only do it once or twice in your life. And should you do it repeatedly, you’ll always discover new things that will surprise you.