If you have been doing this all summer, or if you’re just getting started, it might make you happy to see that hiking can have a ton of health benefits. Let’s have a look at the main up-sides to hiking!
1. Cardio endurance
Hiking is a really efficient cardio workout. It engages pretty much all muscles in the body (legs to move, back and core for balance, even your hands if you’re going on a steep incline). Apart from this it improved blood flow and it can even help prevent heart illnesses thanks to this.
Hiking can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories an hour (it all depends on how quickly you move). And the added bonus is this: unlike the gym’s elliptical, where you stare into a wall for half an hour every session, hiking allows you to have marvelous views! This will distract you, which is why even sedentary people can hike for hours if the view is worth it- you just don’t feel exhausted because of the exhilaration of seeing such a beautiful natural sight!
2. Leg strength
I’ve told you that hiking engages almost all muscles in the body, but it is true that it focuses mainly on your legs. Hiking can be a constant and and steady exercise for your legs. Depending on the terrain, it can be intense then calm then intense again then easy again, and this variations helps your leg muscles strengthen.
However keep in mind that even with hiking a bit of warm up is needed. When you begin, don’t rush to be the first one to the peak of the mountain! Take it slow, enjoy the view and let your muscles adapt, especially if it’s been a while since your last hike.
3. Help with your balance
The fact that you are moving constantly on an uneven terrain will help you improve your overall balance. You need to make sure you move forward, not slip off rocks, keep your body straight, step on the right spot… Hiking is so fun you don’t even realize you’re doing all this! But you are, and it’s helping your balance.
4. Clean oxygen
Hiking is a real break from all points of view. It disconnects us from the hustle and bustle of the big city, but it also helps our lungs disconnect. Cities are usually very polluted, and taking a break is beneficial to our lungs. And although the air is thinner at higher altitudes, it is actually more pure. There is the same amount of oxygen in the atmosphere at high altitudes and it is at low altitudes, but because air is less dense, you inevitably inhale less air and receive less oxygen. But don’t worry! You may be breathing in less oxygen, but you won’t be breathing in any toxins either!
Why do you love hiking? Let us know how it benefits you personally in a comment.