“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Hiking is a battle against the elements, and indeed those who win this battle come out all the more stronger for it, receiving an abundance of mental and physical benefits.
Be it rain, snow, insect bites, rough terrain, blisters, bruises, injuries, sore feet, or anything else — hikers overcome these obstacles, so they can enjoy what nature has to offer. And through it all, their life changes in these remarkable ways:
In a study published in late 2012, researchers found that immersion to nature improved creativity and problem-solving performance by about 50% in a group of hikers. This increase in performance can be attributed to both, a decrease in the use of technology as well as the immersion in nature. Researchers at Stanford University also discovered that walking results in far greater creativity than sitting.
As much as hiking improves cognitive abilities, it also has a positive impact on the body. Depending on the terrain incline and weight carried, hikers can expect to burn at the very least 500 calories every hour.
While regular walking improves your lower body health, hiking on inclined terrain while using hiking poles to keep yourself moving will work out your entire body. Carrying weight on your back will further increase upper body gains. And since hiking trails result in less pressure on joints as compared to solid asphalt, it’s a better cardio workout option.
Reduced blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol alongside an increased total antioxidant capacity (TAC) fill help stave off a multitude of diseases such as diabetes, stroke and even cancer.
Communing with nature while being away from the fast paced daily environment helps people connect with one another and themselves. Because of the peacefulness this offers, people can work through their feelings of hopelessness brought on by depression and actively make lifestyle changes to increase their happiness and reduce repression.
Many hikers swear by the buddy system’s part in improving their enjoyment in the hiking experience. Going hiking with someone lets you socialize and create relations on a deeper level; while partaking in hiking community discussions lets you share your experiences and learn from others. And if you adopt socializing as part of your hiking practices, you’ll be more likely to keep on hiking.
So now that you know about all the benefits of hiking, what are you waiting for? Grab yourself some ultralight hiking gear and a comfortable backpack, plan out your journey and avail all the benefits hiking has to offer!