Are you looking to increase your overall health and wellbeing this year? Hiking in the outdoors is a great activity and one of the simplest ways to get more active. Hiking has many health benefits for both the body and mind;
Reduce Body Fat
Hiking can help you to lose weight, by increasing the number of calories you burn in a day. The faster you walk, or steeper your incline is, the more calories you will burn. As your stamina and fitness improves over time, your metabolism will improve, promoting a loss in body fat. The NHS suggests that adults should do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week. And what better way to get in your 150 minutes of exercise than going for a hike in some gorgeous countryside!
Walking and hiking can increase the strength in your muscles, specifically your calf, quadriceps and hamstrings. This will result in improved muscle definition and can prevent muscle loss. Strengthening your leg muscles will also increase your metabolism and aid in fat loss – win, win!
Hiking is a low impact exercise that can prevent the loss of bone density. Your bones become weaker as you age, and hiking is a great way to prevent this. Walking strengthens your bones and helps maintain healthy joints as well as reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Furthermore, being out in the outdoors will increase your intake of vitamin D, which is vital for bone health!
Improve Heart Health
Hiking will increase your heart rate and get your blood pumping. Regular activity can reduce the risk of both heart disease and stroke. In fact, according to the British Heart Foundation, you can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by 35% by being more active.
Reduce Risk of Disease
It’s not just your heart that can benefit from regular walks. Many studies have shown that hiking can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, asthma and even certain cancers. Diabetes UK recommends that 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking five days a week can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Whilst Cancer Research UK states that regular exercise can prevent breast cancer and bowel cancer, whilst maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of a further 11 types of cancer.
Improves Brain Health
Hiking can help to keep our brains healthy and reduce the risk of dementia. Regular activity, such as walking, helps to prevent memory loss, due to a prevention of the shrinking of the hippocampus. The Alzheimer’s Society has reported several studies that show that aerobic exercise in middle aged or older adults prevents memory loss, and reduces rates of dementia.
Improves Mental Health
Exercise, such as hiking, releases the good hormones – endorphins. Endorphins help to reduce anxiety and can have a positive effect on your mood. Walking can also reduce the feeling of stress, as your body becomes better at coping with the levels of cortisol in your body. According to MIND, increasing your levels of activity from sedentary to exercising three times a week can reduce risk of depression by almost 20%.
Hopefully this has inspired you to get out those walking boots and get hiking in the great outdoors! If you are looking for an endurance trek to train for in 2019 then head over to www.trekfest.org.uk to hear all about our ultimate trekking adventure!