What Are The Health Benefits of Hiking in the Woods?
Want an exercise routine you can actually stick to? Want to burn calories and relieve stress at the same time? Start hiking! It’s a healthy addiction, it’s free, and it burns a lot of calories.
When we step away from our hectic lives and go experience something beautiful, a calming transformation takes place.
Just imagine walking through the quiet woods with only the sound of a nearby waterfall. The beautiful earth-toned colors surround you with just a hint of blue sky.
Hiking is good for the mind, body and spirit and leads to a healthier life overall.
Hiking can test your limits leading you to greater self-esteem. When we step outside our physical boundaries, we are able to see that we are so much more than we think we are. We set our own limits and limitations, by challenging these limits, we get a much greater sense of accomplishment.
Some of our Favorite Health Benefits of Hiking:
- Lowers your Blood Pressure
- Lower your risk for Heart Disease
- Lower Stress
- Walking helps reduce hypertension and control diabetes.
- Helps maintain Healthy Joints
- Reduce symptoms of Osteoartritis and other Joint Diseases.
- Reduce Stress that leads to anxiety
- Boosts Self Esteem (Yes You Can!)
- Strengthens Your Bones and Muscles
- Improves Bone Density
- Better Cardio and Stronger Lung Function
- Burns Calories to Keep Weight Down
As you hike, particularly when walking over rougher terrain, you’re also working on your sense of balance and coordination. Hiking definitely improves your sense of balance and coordination.
Hiking Gets You Outside In The Fresh Air and Sunshine
No matter how fast or slow you walk, hiking gets you outside and in the fresh air. This alone will make you feel better as your body absorbs the oxygen and sunshine. Both are important for your health and well-being.
You will find the air quality outside, particularly if you go for a walk on the beach or in a park, will be much better than the air inside your house. Of course, the sunshine outside will help your body product all the Vitamin D it needs.
Hiking and Calming Effects
Nothing is more calming than a long hike through the woods where life is left behind for a little while. It’s a good chance to rid your mind of consuming thoughts that leave you tired and worn out.
If most of your days are spent on a hamster stress wheel, the benefits of walking through the woods are immediate and calming.
Recent studies suggest that hiking through the woods decreases the negative effects of depression and anxiety. So what could be a better way of working on yourself than to spend time in the woods.
Things you will need if you get serious about hiking:
- Good Hiking Shoe-Boots
- Gel Inserts for Shoe-Boots
- Good Hiking Socks
- Hiking Back Pack
- Smaller Back Pack for Water and Phone
- Hiking Poles or Trek Poles
We like hiking shoe-boots. They aren’t exactly shoes and they aren’t boots. They are a cross-over style that would be in between. They are sturdy and comfortable and perfect for hiking.
What Makes A Good Hike?
A good hike is one that fits your endurance and skill level. If you easily get out of breath or have been sedentary for a long time, start off slowly and work your way up to more difficult hikes.
Check out the trail as much as possible before heading out. Are there super-steep hills? Are there long steep hills? What is the terrain like? Do you need trek poles for the hike? Do you need sturdy hiking boots or will good hiking shoes work?
A good hike has some beautiful scenery to keep your mind calm and your senses in tune. Ask around. You will be surprised at how many different places there are to hike in your area.
How To Get Started Hiking?
Would you love to start hiking but feel like you’re in a rut and not sure how to get started? Join a hiking group or club.
There are many hiking groups or clubs to join that will have like-minded people. Joining a group gives you more incentive to stick with hiking because it’s much more fun to hike with a group or with other people. Meetup.com is a national group that has tons of hiking groups and there should be one in your area! Check it out!
And always remember to Leave No Trace. This means leave nothing behind to tell that you were there. Be a courteous hiker at all times.
Want to Make Hiking Even Better?
Get yourself a FitBit! Read more about the benefits of having a Fitbit.