Not all physical activities benefit people’s minds in the same way they do their bodies. Yoga is probably the first thing to think of, but what else?
You can try ballroom dancing or pilates, but since it’s summer, we suggest hiking. It helps physical and mental health in equal measure. Let’s see how.
1. Hiking works out your whole body
Walking on a rough terrain engages more muscles that walking on flat surfaces. You train your glutes and quads (and those are not easy to train) without hitting the gym, and if you take a backpack with a bottle of water and a couple of sandwiches with you, you’ll train your upper body, too. Plus, it helps burn calories.
2. It’s good for your heart
Hiking reduces your risk of having a stroke and lowers your blood pressure. Like any cardio workout, it will also make you stronger and more enduring. So you’ll live longer in addition to becoming fit. Win-win.
3. It reduces inflammation
Apparently, spending time outdoors can make injuries heal faster. People who enjoy walks in the forest have lower levels of inflammation than those who choose to stay in the city.
4. It makes you sleep better
If our sleeping patterns are disrupted, it’s partly because of the non-existent time city folk spend in the sun. Hiking will restore your body’s internal clock and get you some much-needed Vitamin D as well.
5. Hiking prevents depression
Hiking is a mood-booster and it helps lower anxiety levels and fight depression. That is great news considering almost 20% of the U.S. population suffer from anxiety disorders.
6. It improves memory
Hiking in nature helps you remember things. Maybe it’s simply because it clears your mind of gadgets, but it’s a fact: people memorize things about 20% better after a walk in the woods. A walk around the block won’t do.
7. It boosts creativity
Would you be surprised to learn that hiking increases creativity by half? That’s what the study found when they tested people’s ability to do creative tasks before and after spending some time in the wild. So, if you need to write an essay or think of a design solution, put on sneakers and walk to the nearest hill.
There are other big pluses to hiking we almost forgot.
- You don’t need special equipment
- It’s a great way to bond
- Even kids can do it!
Need any more reasons?
Featured Image: Stephan Vance/unsplash.com