Hiking benefits, Heart, Body and Mind

Hiking benefits, Heart, Body and Mind

The benefits of hiking and why you should do more of it.

Elite point of view

Regular physical activity is good for your health and can lengthen your life; however the problem at the moment is that the majority of people are not getting enough of it. Exercise can come in many different forms. Exercise doesn’t have to mean that you spend long hours indoors confined within the gym walls. Hiking is a fun activity that not only helps you achieve the recommended physical activity guidelines but you can also break up your repetitive workout routine. By being outdoors in the fresh air and with nature you can get away from the stresses of daily life.

Being out in the sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for your mental health. It can help reduce your stress levels and calm your anxiety. The time outdoors in the sun will also increase your vitamin D levels. Higher levels of vitamin D have been shown to help prevent many types of cancer.

You should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise nearly every day of the week. A steady two-mile hike is enough to meet this goal, but even walking at a more comfortable pace can have short and long-term benefits for your health. The recommended daily step goal to reach is 10,000.

Physical exercise helps release endorphins, which help relieve pain and stress, as well as increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin in our body, which boost your mood and sense of well-being.

When done regularly, hiking may improve your productivity, outlook and attitude to life, focus your thoughts and clear your head.

Hiking can also aid weight loss. Not only can it help you lose weight but it can also then help to keep it off. Walking or climbing over uneven terrain uses 1/3 more energy than walking over flat ground which also results in better sleep.

The Brecons Hike is one of Elite Fitness’ 2022 events taking place on Sunday 24th April. The hike is 10 miles and there will be mixed ability groups taking part and nobody will be left on their own. It’s a fun and social way to exercise and meet new people whilst enjoying the outdoors. With all that you now know about the benefits of hiking why not sign up HERE now and come along!

I recently read an article backing up much of what was discussed above. Here’s a summary of that study.

‘Benefits of Hiking: A means-end approach on the Appalachian Trail’

The purpose of this research was to examine the outcomes prompting hiking along the Appalachian Trail (AT). By using means-end theory, linkages between attributes, consequences, and values of the AT hiking experience were made.

The researchers conducted 43 interviews of AT hikers. Self-fulfillment, self-reliance, fun and enjoyment of life, and warm relationships with others were some of the values that emerged.

Specifically, strong links existed between hiking and exercise, exercise and health, health and fun and enjoyment of life. While this area of research on the AT is new, results of this study can be used by recreational professionals that work with the AT or other hiking trails to promote appropriate use of natural resources.

Data from this study revealed a number of concrete attributes among hikers such as the trail, being outdoors, scenic beauty, and interactions. These basic motives are what initially attract hikers, the hiker then hopes to gain by-products such as health, peace, physical challenge, and environmental awareness.

Information from this study can help recreation professionals as they continually strive to increase awareness of benefits of outdoor recreation while implementing programs that specifically target development of those benefits.

Hill, E., Goldenberg, M. and Freidt, B., 2009.

Benefits of hiking: A means-end approach on the Appalachian Trail. Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism, & Recreation Research2(1).

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