I briefly touched on the health benefits of hiking in nature in the introduction to my website. Today, I will delve deeper into this fascinating subject!
For the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has virtually kept us all prisoners in our homes. Even before this year of being held hostage, there are so many people who rarely leave their “concrete jungles” – they live and work in urban areas, and when they exercise, most of the time this consists of walking or running on city sidewalks, or working out in a gym. Hiking in nature is a peaceful escape from the blaring noise of city traffic, the views of the high-rise buildings surrounding us, and it also takes our minds away from the constant stresses of technology that we all deal with on a daily basis. We can just enjoy taking a walk while feeling the warm sun on our faces and the wind whisping through our hair, letting our eyes take in the beauty of the wilderness, our ears listen to the songs of the birds and forest animals, and the trickling of a nearby stream . . . I don’t know about YOU, but I feel more relaxed just envisioning this scene! Now that we are beginning to unwind, let’s explore more of The Healthy Benefits of Hiking In Nature . . .
Hiking is an activity that most people are able to participate in regardless of your age or physical shape. Pick a trail that fits your physical ability level, and at the end of the hike, you will feel a sense of major accomplishment and have the right to feel very proud of yourself! This feeling of accomplishment gives you much more confidence in your abilities to take on new challenges in ANY area of your life, which will lead to a greater sense of happiness and well-being within yourself!
Take a buddy along on your hike, and the enjoyment of spending quality time walking and talking with each other will strengthen your relationship as well as strengthen your bodies. As for strengthening your bodies, hiking in nature will strengthen your core, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings, as well as your hip and lower leg muscles. It will also improve bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise, as well as help control weight. Hiking can also help improve balance.
I highly recommend investing in a set of trekking poles to help build core and upper body strength, as well as giving extra stability on uphill and downhill hikes, and crossing creeks. If you are a beginning hiker, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on trekking poles to get started. I bought my husband and myself our first trekking poles for Christmas from Amazon. We are very impressed with their quality, and the major difference they make on our hikes, especially on the uphill and downhill areas of the trails. They give us a much better workout using our upper bodies, and I especially love the greater sense of stability they offer to help with my “bad knee”! I have listed our trekking poles in the link below if you are interested in checking out a quality set that will not hurt your wallet!
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