• Shruti GOCHHWAL

What Makes Hiking an Amazing Form Of Exercise?

Any form of exercise or physical activity is beneficial to the body. It helps maintain a healthy body weight, psychological health, regulates metabolism, and even reduces the risk of chronic diseases.

One of the best forms of exercising is hiking. It offers you cardio, fitness and mental benefits while presenting to you a beautiful view to enjoy, appreciate or even get inspired.

Infact, there’s quite a number of people who go hiking just to enjoy the magnificent view and fresh air and less for the intent of improving health and fitness.

Here’s all the reasons why hiking is so beneficial:

●     Time flies when you’re hiking!

A lot of people underestimate the power of a beautiful view that will instill a feeling of happiness and peace in a person.

When this happens, the body releases a hormone known as dopamine which is known to increase efficiency and reduce effort.

Once the person has their “game face” on, after some time, the workout seems to be less tiring and will increase their motivation. This is because once a person gets into their zone it’s almost like their reflex action and suncon mind takes charge. It’s similar to when you’re driving and reach a destination but have vague memories of your journey.

Moreover, the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” is justified in this case. When you’re hiking, especially with your friends, the process is enjoyable to you and as a result, time passes by quickly.

This is because the human brain has a finite amount of attention span but when we focus on something fun and enjoyable, we tend to pay less attention to the passing of time and thus making the moment seem like it passed by quicker than it usually would.

Another distraction that we focus on is the trail itself. Typically, trails are unpredictable and hiking would require a high attention span.

man hiking

Credit: pexels Caption: Hiking increases brain function


●     Increases brain function, creativity and mental satisfaction

Speaking of attention spans, hiking is also known to increase your brain function. This is because the mind has to constantly be aware and adapt to your surroundings when you go on a hike.

Every step on a stony slope or every footing before a climb has to be a calculated one in order to ensure maximum safety. Moreover, constant navigation and motivation to reach the destination also acts as a driving force that keeps your mind working and thus increasing brain functions.

In addition, the wideness and seemingly never ending beauty of nature space tends to inspire ideas by letting your mind wander into the depths of randomness and creativity.

Some studies have confirmed the positive connection between creativity and natural experiences. This is why many scientists and philosophers preferred to be in open spaces in nature.

When you hike, your brain produces BDNF, a topic factor which is responsible for nerve growth, maturation and maintenance of nerve cells. Thus, when BDNF is increased it promotes activity of the cranial neurons and also affects mental health.

Lastly, the mental satisfaction that you will feel when you reach the destination point or site is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. When you look back at the trail you journeyed, your body will relax, ease out and release happy hormones as a natural response. As a result, you will feel blissful, peaceful and satisfied.

Toned

Credits: pexel Caption: Toned lower body


●     Tones the lower body and increases stamina Hiking fitness

Hiking is a more enjoyable form of cross training. It increases stamina, tones your legs and core.

This is because navigation, walking or climbing up trails requires your abs and lower body strength to work in order to stabilize your body. The additional weight of your backpack also contributes as resistance and forces your body muscles to work more.and thus strengthens it.

Moreover, hiking up hill on mountains in a way is similar to doing lunges or bench step ups during gym workouts but in this case doing them in a continuous and more efficient manner, over and over again.

Going downhill, on the other hand, offers a lot of resistance on your glutes and quads in order to stabilize your body from falling and rolling down.

Thus, the combination of going uphill and downhill is bound to significantly increase your lower body strength and tone your muscles. As your muscles strengthen, your stamina increases, and eventually you’ll be able to easily venture out on longer and harder hikes.

In conclusion, regardless if you are a star athlete or just a beginner, you’ll burn anywhere around 500-900 calories in just an hour.

hiking happiness

Credit: pexels

Alt tag: hiking happiness

Caption: Destress

●     Improves lifestyle

Besides making you physically stronger, hiking is also known to improve your quality of life and wellbeing.

With the  majority of the population having a desk job and increased social pressure, there is a constant feeling of stress and uneasiness.

Hiking serves as a  temporary escape from this reality in order to destress. Nature offers these relief measures and it’s calming effect decreases blood pressure and cortisol levels in your body.

The excessive walking required during a hike is also known to improve sleep quality at the end of the day and helps you recharge and reconnect. As a result, it reduces any risk of anxiety and depression. One would typically find themselves jolly and energetic the next day.

Lastly, the disconnect from the rest of the world due to unavailable signals and connection problems with technology, you will find yourself interacting with nature and appreciating its simplicity.

A person will also find themselves to be more respectful towards mother nature and hold themselves accountable for any action that might compromise it’s purity.

hiking with friends

Credits: pexels

Alt tag : hiking with friends

Caption: Bonding

●     Great for bonding!

Hiking not only helps you connect with nature but also with you fellow hikers. It could be your family, friend or any loved one.

Lack of internet connectivity, will also increase your interaction with one another.

In addition to that, you will also find yourselves relying on each other on safety or any such related problems.

This increases or creates a sense of bonding and teamwork among each other and you will feel more connected to your fellow hikers by the end of the hike.

hiking trails

Credit: pexels

Alt tag: hiking trails

Caption: Find trails around you

Finding Trails Around You

Luckily for us, India is known as a hiker’s paradise. There are numerous areas and trails with different difficulty levels that a person can pick out.

Some of the popular trails are :

  1. Roopkund, Uttarakhand

  2. Great Lakes, Jammu and Kashmir

  3. Pin Parvati Pass, Himachal Pradesh

  4. The Karla Caves and the Bhaja Caves, Maharashtra

  5. Several walking trails in Matheran, Maharashtra

You can also find more trails around you here.

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