Health Benefits of Hiking
Updated: Jul 21, 2018
Here at Nefeli Nine a major part of our program consists of hiking. Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to get outside and connect with nature, but it also has a host of tremendous benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing! So next time someone tells you to ‘take a hike’ take them up on it!!
The fantastic thing about hiking is that it exists along an entire continuum, ranging from gentle walks on flat, grassy fields to much more difficult mountainous terrain. Irrespective of age or athletic ability it is possible to find a hike that presents a personal challenge for everyone. People of all fitness levels can join us at Nefeli Nine because we tailor the program so that each individual is challenged within their limits and can follow the program through to completion.
Boosts Fitness and Contributes to Weight Loss
Hiking can burn between 300 to 500 calories per hour. This varies based on the level of incline and the difficulty of the terrain. It is a fantastic way to improve cardiovascular fitness, especially if the path you choose includes some hills, which will push your heart to work harder. The natural ups and downs of hiking trails ensure that all muscles play their part, allowing for a full-body workout. Regular hiking complemented by a healthy balanced diet make the process of weight loss faster and easy.
Helps to Develop Balance and Stability
In addition to great cardiovascular training, hiking has added physical benefits. Navigating uneven ground works different muscles to the muscles required for walking on concrete, flat surfaces. This activates a number of muscles in your hips and knees. These are the same muscles that can also improve balance and stability. Enhanced balance and stability will protect you from falling and can also serve to prevent injuries. The uneven surfaces of most hiking trails can also engage your core muscles which also play a large role in any balance work. Hiking is hard work and balance and stability take time to develop, get yourself some hiking poles to begin with. They provide an added level of security and comfort.
Natural stress relief
Few things can top the curative and stress-relieving powers of being outside in nature. Hiking gives you the opportunity to relax and exercise in natural settings. The sights smells and sense of freedom have shown to ease people’s stress levels. Stress can be incredibly dangerous, there is growing consensus that it plays a large role in causing high blood pressure, and risk of heart disease. Anything you can do to mitigate stress levels, therefore is likely to be beneficial. Being outside and feeling like you are far away from everything can provide a real sense of tranquillity and calm.
A study published in Environmental Science & Technology found that exercising outdoors can help develop "greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression, and increased energy.”
Hiking with a friend, or even a group contributes to forging new acquaintances or even strengthening old friendships. It is a social activity, interacting with the larger hiking community can encourage you to see your workouts as a lifestyle rather than a boring chore. This in turn will make it a lot easier to keep doing it long term.
Requires Very Little
Hiking requires only a few essential items: a pair of boots or hiking shoes, some hiking poles, perhaps a map and some water. Furthermore, it is not an expensive sport and can be afforded by anyone. You can also chart your own course, will you take a slow meandering trail, or a steep trek into the hills? You set your own pace, your own distance and your own goals.
Hiking stimulates your brain and your body, so it’s no surprise that it takes a lot out of you and helps you to get to sleep at night! Hiking, regardless of how small you start initially, will push your body and mind out of its comfort zone. The benefits continue long after your hike and will bring down adrenaline. Eventually, your body moves into rest and recovery mode, allowing for a good night’s sleep.
Hiking in Greece
Greece is a hiker’s paradise; 80 percent of the country is mountainous. There is an amazing wealth of trails meandering through stunning natural environments drenched in culture. Picture waterfalls and monasteries, magnificent views and picturesque villages. Many of the trails have huge historical significance and allow us to dive into the history of an area while exploring it. Join us at Nefeli Nine Retreats to explore the unspoiled paths of Pentelis and Marathon as we delve into the history of the area and pick fresh oregano and thyme while admiring the spectacular sweeping views of the region!