Let’s take a hike (slideshow)
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Some people cringe at the word “hike” – it brings forth visions of steep hills and mountains, rocky landscapes and a lot of hard work. But hiking doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a way to move your body, enjoy fresh air and find inner peace. And physical activity is essential for good health – for your body and your mind. Here are some ways hiking benefits you.
Lowers stress and blood pressure
Hiking lowers stress levels and improves your mood. Connecting with nature helps you to see the “big picture” of life. You may find that your troubles aren’t as big as they seemed before. Physical activity can also lower blood pressure 4-10 points.
Improves heart health
The results of 43 separate studies by the Centers for Disease Control showed that by exercising, people significantly reduce their chances for heart problems. Those who do not exercise are twice as likely to have coronary heart disease.
Physical exercise is good for your body, but many types of exercise can be hard on your joints. Not so much with hiking – it’s a low-impact activity. If you choose a level hiking path with few obstacles, your joints won’t complain.
Helps to manage your weight
Hiking is one of the best ways to lose weight and is a method of stabilizing cholesterol levels. On average, you burn 100 calories for every mile you walk. If you walk fast or go up inclines during your walk, you’ll burn even more calories.
Physical activity like hiking can help to control conditions like diabetes because it reduces the amount of glucose in your blood. For those with Type I (insulin dependent), walking can reduce the amount of insulin you need. For those with Type II (non-insulin dependent), activities like hiking can reverse the symptoms of the disease through diet, exercise and weight loss.
Adrenaline is produced by the body to cope with real or perceived danger, and if it isn’t released and builds up, it can cause muscle tension and feelings of anxiety. Hiking can help to release adrenaline. Endorphins, which are chemicals in your body that can lift your spirits and keep them there – keeping your brain healthy, too – are also byproducts of walking or hiking.
Take a hike today!
These are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy from hiking, whether you’re the mountain-climbing type or someone who just wants to be more active. You should talk with your doctor before starting any kind of physical activity program. Then check out the hiking paths in your area and take a hike!
Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.