We all know that health is the most essential part of our lives, but staying healthy is becoming one of the most challenging things to do. It can be blamed on the modern lifestyle and hectic schedule of people the world over.
It is a proven fact that physical inactivity is one of the major reasons for deteriorating health conditions globally. So is there any other option other than eating a nutritious diet to keep you healthy and fit? Sure there is!
Hiking is one option that can assist in keeping you physically and mentally healthy. You know why?
It is because hiking offers you all kinds of tangible benefits including:
- Boosting fitness
- Improving mental wellbeing
- Assisting in social lives
You may not be convinced that hiking is related to all these benefits. Don’t worry! We are prepared for the exact situation.
This article prepared with detailed research will give you a good insight into the benefits of hiking with exact statistics.
We hope the information will be beneficial to you and those around you.
1. Mental Benefits of Hiking
- As per the book of Samir Becic titled ReSYNC Your Life: 28 Days to a Stronger, Leaner, Smarter, Happier You, hiking can result in up to a 50 % improvement in creative and reasonable thinking. Also, frequent hiking reduces the risk of mental health problems by 50%.
- Hiking assists in maintaining and strengthening your mental health, which is as important as caring for the health of your body.
- Hiking tends to keep you away from technology while offering you a chance of exploring nature and handing you ample ‘me’ time.
- Hiking in nature for just 20 minutes can drop up to 13.4 % cortisol, which is your body’s primary stress hormone.
- A 90-minute hike through a natural environment helps to lower the levels of rumination. Rumination is one of the risk factors for mental illness.
2. Minimizes Risk of Heart Attack
- According to Miyazaki, a physiological anthropologist and vice director of Chiba University’s Center for Environment, Health, and Field Sciences, hiking for 20 minutes in nature helps to decrease your heart rate by 5.8 %.
- You can quickly reduce both cholesterol and high blood pressure through frequent hikes.
- As per the studies, one 3-hour hike per week ensures a healthier heart and less chance of having a stroke.
- Hiking can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 10 points and reduce the risks of fatal health diseases.
3. Maintains Body Weight
- Hiking can burn between 440 and 550 calories per hour.
- If you weigh around 160 lbs, you can burn more than 1200 calories with a 3-hour hike. If you can perform this twice a week, you can effectively burn 1-1.5 days’ worth of calories.
- In more detailed terms, a 175-pound person who hikes 3 times a week for around 120 minutes can lose approximately 1 pound per week.
4. Keeps Your Body Fit
- Proper hiking aids to strengthen your immune system. It also helps to reduce the symptom of arthritis.
- In general, around 18.5 %, i.e., 42.2 million people prefer hiking as the favorite outdoor activity to remain fit and healthy.
- Hiking benefits your body with more endurance. As you hit the trails above 4,000 feet, your body knows to adapt using less oxygen.
- If you hike on uneven terrain, your body energy gets increased by 28 %. Also, it aids in 28 % and 62 % increase in positive knee and hip work respectively.
- Hiking in the woods for 2 hours, 2 days in the row helps to boost the cells that fight disease by 50 %.
- It helps to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes as hiking is the best way to control the amount of insulin a diabetic needs.
5. Minimizes Anxiety and Stress
- Hiking is the best option to reduce anxiety, stress, and tension as it helps to increase the natural endorphins released in our bodies.
- The stats suggest around 6.1 % of people in the rural area and 5.2 % of people in the urban area are vulnerable to depression.
- Nonetheless, if you hike in around 1 km of green space, you are 25 % less likely to suffer from depression. Meanwhile, you become 30 % less likely to suffer from anxiety.
5. Assists Better Sleep
- Hiking helps you to fall asleep earlier and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
- Generally, 50 to 70 million people in the United States who suffer from a sleep disorder tend to wake up with some type of headache.
- If you hike at least 1 day per week, you are more likely to intake vitamin D in your body. An increase in vitamin D helps to mitigate sleep disturbances and poorer sleep quality.
6. Hiking Benefits For Legs
- Hiking can increase the density of your bones while minimizing the effects of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them fragile.
- It is more beneficial for the legs, particularly hamstrings (back of the thighs), gluteal muscles (buttocks), quadriceps (legs), inner & outer thighs, and calves.
- A hike for around 40 to 45 minutes can help build and tone your legs and prevent any muscle loss.
7. Reduces Risk of Cancer
- Hiking is a proven method to lower your risk of colon and breast cancer, and also lung and endometrial cancer.
- As per the stats, some 30 minutes of hiking for 3-5 times a week can lower your risk of breast cancer by 30 to 50 %.
- Similarly, a physical exercise in the form of hiking can lower the risk of colon cancer by 24 %.
- Hiking also reduces the risk of endometrial cancer by around 20 %.
8. Strengthens Social Relationships
- A frequent hike with your friends and family helps to strengthen your social relationship.
- Regular hiking in the group offers you the chance to share a social lifestyle with one another and learn new and encouraging things.
- As of 2017 North American Camping Report, around 58 % of people are extremely enthusiastic about hiking in general. Meanwhile, the importance of hiking stays approximately 81 % for maintaining proper social and individual balance.
Hikers in the United States (Stats in 2018)
As of the statistics of 2018, around 16.95 % of the population aged 18-29 years opted for hiking. Meanwhile, the percentage of hikers aged 30 to 49 years read at 17.5 while the percentage of hikers aged 50 to 64 years remained at 16.04 %.
Hiking is the best way to keep your mind and soul in the perfect balance. Some hours of hike in a week tends to keep you healthy and fit. Plus, it helps you to minimize tension and stress and expand your creative thinking.
If you are a beginner, it is not safe for you to hike alone. Moreover, if your trail is unfamiliar and remote, you are prone to more on-road troubles. It is better to find a friend or a group who can assist in navigating the journey. The move also comes handy for maintaining a proper social relationship as well.
Don’t forget to put hiking in your top priority list for a better and healthy lifestyle.
- 1. Mental Benefits of Hiking
- 2. Minimizes Risk of Heart Attack
- 3. Maintains Body Weight
- 4. Keeps Your Body Fit
- 5. Minimizes Anxiety and Stress
- 5. Assists Better Sleep
- 6. Hiking Benefits For Legs
- 7. Reduces Risk of Cancer
- 8. Strengthens Social Relationships
- Hikers in the United States (Stats in 2018)
- Final Say