We all know that the fundamentals of weight loss is simple math. Right? Burn more calories than you take in and you will loose weight. Shouldn’t be as hard as it is these days but it is oh so difficult. It is hard. VERY hard. With the litany of exercise options out there what is it about hiking that so many of us enjoy and why is it good for you?
Before I say the next few words I want to be clear about something- I am not a doctor. I never will be. I don’t play one on TV. This site is about my journey to better health through hiking. I talk a LOT about the gear, and the trips, and people I meet… but its not really all about that. Its about getting healthy and living a better life not only for myself, but for the ones I love. What I will be talking about in my Hiker Health posts is about what I have come to understand from doing my homework. Before you start any exercise plan or follow any of the guidance you may read on these posts, please consult a physician to make sure that hiking is right for you.
Now with that made very clear, lets talk about the general health benefits of hiking.
Hiking is a powerful cardio workout that can:
- Lower your risk of heart disease
- Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
- Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
- Strengthen your core
- Improve balance
- Help control your weight
- Boost your mood. “Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society. “Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that.”
Additionally, Up to 90% of adults in the US are thought to be Vitamin D deficient which has been correlated with increased risk of autoimmune disorders, common cancers and hypertension. Direct sun exposure is the best way to absorb Vitamin D. Just 10-15 minutes per day in the sun can increase calcium absorption, improve mood, memory & immunity and lower blood pressure.
One of the benefits I enjoy about hiking is the workout it gives your core. I hate doing crunches and lat machines in the gym. Climb over a pile of boulders with a 30 pound pack on and you will discover muscles in your core you had forgotten about!! It improves your balance, your strength, and your heart all at the same time.
I could go on and on here about the basics, but the image below says everything far better than I ever could. SMARTHIKR.com gathered this info and put it together. Their sources are listed and I know that these are the reasons I’m hiking for my health. Why don’t you come join me?
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