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"10 Benefits of Hiking That Will Make You Love It Even More"

Updated: Mar 4

Hiking was not something that I grew up doing, in fact I grew up in a big city, and my connection with nature was pretty much reserved to the odd picnic in a park, or water skiing in a seaweed filled reservoir! However, over the last few years, and really since I moved to Greece this has changed a lot. Over the years, I've developed a strong connection with nature that has genuinely improved my outlook and life. Nowadays, hiking significantly contributes to my passion for encouraging others to embrace the outdoors. The positive impacts of hiking have been profound, and they can be for you, too.

So, why hike? The obvious reasons are that it's great exercise, and gives you time in nature away from the tech and other many stresses of daily life, getting away from technology. But the reasons to take up hiking stretch beyond the physical. Here are the top 10 reasons for everyone of any age or fitness level to come hiking with us.

Physical Benefits of Hiking

I’m going to start with the physical effects of hiking. While some may be obvious – like potential weight loss – hiking has some other surprising health perks.

  1. Cardiovascular Health: Hiking is an excellent aerobic exercise, promoting a healthy heart and improved circulation.  As you keep it up, you'll find your body adapting to higher fitness levels, allowing you to walk for longer, at a brisker pace, and with less fatigue.

  2. Weight Management: Regular hiking can aid in weight loss and weight maintenance by burning calories and boosting metabolism. The number of calories burned during a hike depends on multiple factors like weight, gender, and aerobic intensity, but if you’re just starting out, even light hiking can result in gradual weight loss.

  3. Muscle Strength: Uphill climbs and varied terrains engage different muscle groups, contributing to overall strength and tone. So, if you’re not a gym bunny, perhaps it’s time to get out on the trails!

  4. Improved Bone Density: Weight-bearing activities like hiking have been shown to help enhance bone density. High bone density is important for preventing broken bones and reducing risk for osteoporosis. High impact and weight-bearing activities like hiking help to improve bone density by strengthening the bone tissue.

  5. Balance and Coordination: Negotiating uneven terrain enhances balance and coordination skills, promoting overall stability. It's like nature's obstacle course, keeping you nimble, confident, and having fun!

Mental and Emotional Benefits of Hiking:

  1. Stress Reduction: Our lives are busier than ever. Nine to five jobs, full social calendars and everyday life admin is enough to keep our stress levels fairly high. Going for a hike reduces your blood pressure and cortisol levels producing a calming effect only nature can offer - over and above the benefits of exercise alone.

  2. Better Sleep: Regular physical activity, such as hiking, can contribute to improved sleep quality and duration.

  3. Immune System Boost: Spending time outdoors and being physically active can strengthen the immune system, making your body more resilient to illnesses.

  4. Hiking allows us to unplug from technology: Technology brings convenience but has unintended downsides. Constant phone and social media use lead to anxiety and unhealthy comparisons, wasting precious time. Social media apps are intentionally addictive, so balance is key. Unplug occasionally and go for a hike!

  5. Reconnect and take time for yourself. When you find yourself caught up in the race, going for a hike is a perfect way to reflect, recharge and reconnect with yourself when you've been too busy to take notice.

I could carry on about the numerous benefits and ways in which hiking has helped me. Getting out into nature and away from the stresses and stimuli can often help to restore my depleted attention span, freeing up more brain power for creativity (all the more reason to leave phones at home! – obviously within reason! I only do this on trails I know very well that are not terribly remote!)


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