Take a Hike! Your Heart Will Thank You
- Posted on: Jul 30 2018
When you hear the term “hike,” do you imagine huffing it up a steep mountain or scrambling over rocky surfaces? This may be somewhat accurate. However, it would be on the extreme end of the spectrum. Hiking is a common pastime that, according to experts, is appropriate for people of all ages and athletic abilities. As we discuss the physical and mental benefits of hiking, think of this activity as anything from a saunter through the woods on a flat trail to the rock and mountain climbing we mentioned. Keep in mind, your preferences and skill level are all that dictate the strenuousness of your chosen path.
We have become increasingly aware of the necessity of core strength. Usually, we don’t think of walking, even on a trail, as a way to tighten our core muscles. Walking of any kind is typically associated with cardiovascular benefits. Hiking is no different, but it also naturally forces us to engage the muscles of in the torso to stay balanced on slightly uneven surfaces. The idea of walking on a trail that may be somewhat rocky or uneven does not need to be intimidating; grab some walking poles and be on your way. Planting a pointed pole a few feet in front of you not only supports balance but also takes a bit of stress off of your knee and hip joints.
Breathe in Fresh Air, Breathe out Stress
It is no secret that physical movement provides a natural outlet for stress. According to several studies, Mother Nature holds her own magic over stress. When we spend time in any green space, from an urban park to a nature preserve, our stress levels naturally decline. Most of the evidence we have that points to the value of nature for stress relief is anecdotal. Still, those who use outdoor time as a method of stress management are usually the first to say they feel a greater sense of composure and peace when they engage in enjoyable outdoor activities like hiking.
Heading out to a trail near you? Bring plenty of water to avoid dehydration.